PRESS RELEASE                                                                                September 22, 2003




Projecting miles into the sky on Friday night, a searchlight beckoned one and all to attend Illuminaria 2003.  And on Saturday September 20, a record crowd of over 1500 responded by joining in the annual celebration of lanterns and light at Fraser River Heritage Park.


Organized by the Mission Association for Community Living(MACL), the free event is intended to celebrate the spirit of community living and the message that “everyone belongs”.  


Beginning at dusk, revelers were treated to the hand-clapping rhythms of Celtic sensations Pipers Down.  As darkness fell, the crowd became the show as hundreds of twinkling candle-lit lanterns floated mystically through the Park, lead in procession by a bag-piper and flag-bearers from the 521st squadron of the Fraser Valley Air Cadets. 


Next performers engaged in a mock “fire fight”, as the giant, fire-breathing Nazar Bzar competed for the attentions of a fire-juggling maiden. New this year was the very popular Labyrinth of Light, a maze of over 700 lanterns created by program participants of MACL’s Training and Support Department.  The family-friendly evening was capped off with a fireworks display and free refreshments. 


Prompted by a desire to celebrate, in 1997 MACL  seized on the simple concept of using light as a symbol of the human spirit.


“By building lanterns, and gathering in the park, we see the effect of our coming together”,  explains MACL Executive Director Robert Keys. “We actually create something new, a whole that is greater than the sum of its individual parts.”


“We think community is like that as well”, adds MACL President Cyndie Anderson.  “Every single person has something to contribute.  Every single individual has a light, and a right, to shine.  And together we create safer, healthier communities”.


The evening was made possible through generous donations from the United Way, Pioneer Chrysler, Genstar, Tim Horton’s and Ruth Huber.




Mission Association for Community Living (MACL)