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Winter Light Festival is set Feb. 1 in NYM

We’ll be reaching the halfway mark between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox at the beginning of February, and the staff of the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center thinks it is time to celebrate the return of the light.

The Cultural Center will host its first-ever Winter Light Festival on Saturday, Feb. 1, also known as St. Brigit’s Day — the turning point of the year in the Celtic calendar.

The following day, Feb. 2, is Candlemas in the Christian calendar, and of course it is also Groundhog Day.

All of these days celebrate the return of the light, and everyone is invited to join the celebration at the Cultural Center on Feb. 1, beginning at 7 p.m.

The Center is collaborating with St. Peter’s Lutheran Church to host the festival.

There will be hand-made lanterns, ice luminarias, music, food, and a collection of award –winning short films from the Rural Route Film Festival. 

The collection of short films includes a wonderful 3-minute homage to the reindeer in Lapland, and another movie includes some of the most amazing footage of the Northern Lights ever captured on film.

There will be free lantern-making workshops on Wednesday through Saturday preceding the Winter Light Festval, for families and individuals.

Puppet Pageant artists Anne Sawyer-Aitch and Lisa Winter will lead the workshops. The idea is to create a celebratory, stimulating and joyful event to kindle the fire within, during the dark of winter.

Workshop dates at the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 29 from 7 to 9 p.m.
  • Thursday, Jan.  30 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Jan. 31 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 1 from 10 a.m. to noon.

You don’t need to participate in the workshops to enjoy the festival, but we hope as many as possible will take part.

St. Peter’s will have its traditional celebration of Candlemas Day as part of its Sunday morning service on Sunday, Feb 2.

This Winter Light Festival is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Lake Region Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

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