A few weeks ago, I took Willow to The Lumiere Festival here in Ottawa with my sister, my sister’s boyfriend and my friend Finn. I didn’t know what to expect, other than what I saw on their website, but I knew that it was going to be a magical garden style event so I made sure to stock up on two important things: a fairy costume for Willow and glow supplies.
We set out around 6pm and landed at Stanley Park (near Rockcliffe Park / Sussex Drive) shortly after. The walkway into Stanley Park was so pretty, even though night hadn’t fallen yet, as it was lined with lanterns on the way into the park. The walk down is really magical and sets the tone for the party itself.
Once we walk out into the park, you’re greeted with lots of open green space, for the children to run around in, as well as the beginnings of lantern set up and lighting. In the center of it all, in the ball diamonds, is a circular set up of lanterns that children can add candles to later. However, while night is falling, the kids can run through the circular set up.
We wandered around a bit and decided to get some food while we were waiting. There were two different food trucks – one serving Asian food and one serving fries and other similar foods – but the line-up for each was incredibly long and moved incredibly slow. In future, I’d just pack dinner for us as a ton of our time ended up being spent on the wait for food.
On the same level as the food trucks were a few vendors and snack merchants as well as the toilets. The set up was nice as it did keep the traffic around those items in one space while keeping the festival separate.
Once we grabbed our food, we found a spot on a hill to eat and laid out our picnic blanket. From where we were, we could see the entire festival and it was really magical to see lots of costumes, kids throwing glow sticks up into the sky, the fire throwers doing their thing and lots of art installations happening: things like projectors and other glowy goodness.
As we walked back to our car, we took the path that weaved through the park and we were able to look at all of the beautifully crafted lanterns. There were dragons and mushrooms and rabbits and masks and more. It was magical and Willow LOVED stopping to look at each of the lanterns and dance around the rabbits and weave in and out of mushrooms. It was one of my most favourite moments of the summer.
Highly recommend checking the festival out – bring your children and dress them up. Let them be little fairy princes or princesses and just enjoy the midsummer night’s dream.