Arts & Culture

Saturday’s Luminary Procession brings a taste of springtime to Olympia’s summer

Participants make their way along the route of the first Luminary Procession at West Central Park in Olympia in 2018.
Participants make their way along the route of the first Luminary Procession at West Central Park in Olympia in 2018. Courtesy photo

The stars will be out Saturday in West Central Park.

So will the moons, the bats and doves.

The occasion is the second annual Luminary Procession in the park, happening in conjunction with a concert by Climate Change, a world-fusion quartet with jazz roots, and Artesian Rumble Arkestra, Olympia’s merry multi-genre marching band.

The handmade paper lanterns, which range from simple to elaborate, will illuminate the park at dusk, creating a smaller version of the spectacle that happens each April on the night before the Procession of the Species.

The summer luminary event was launched last year after the spring Luminary Procession was canceled due to rain. It was such a hit that plans are to make it an annual celebration.

“Everyone had such a great time,” said Tuck Petertil, a spokesman for the nonprofit community park founded by Alicia Elliott. “When the bands and the luminary people were cleaning up after, everyone was saying, ‘Wow, we have to do this again.’ ”

“Everybody just loves the luminaries,” said Kris Geringer, who’s leading a group of volunteers preparing the lanterns for Saturday’s procession. “People are always in awe. Everybody thinks they’re magical.”

Last summer’s Luminary Procession drew about 500 people, including many families with young children, Petertil told The Olympian. “That was probably the largest crowd we have had at a park event,” he said. “It drew a lot of new folks out to the park who hadn’t been before.”

Geringer was one of those new folks.

“It was a very sweet experience,” she said. “The park is just so inviting and friendly. The people who were there were similar to the Procession (of the Species) crowd. People had an appreciate for art and beauty.

“We’re really happy to coordinate with the park to make this happen,” she said. “I’m hoping that it grows every year.”

Luminary Procession

  • What: A procession of elaborate handmade lanterns will illuminate a concert at West Central Park. The event also features music by Climate Change and Artesian Rumble Arkestra.
  • Where: West Central Park, 1919 Harrison Ave. NW, OIympia
  • When: Music begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, with the procession at dusk
  • Tickets: $10 donation suggested to benefit the nonprofit community park
  • More information: or
  • Participate: Those who have luminaries are invited to bring them along. There’ll also be luminaries available to borrow and a sign-up sheet for those who’d like to be informed about future luminary-making classes.

Also at West Central Park

Concerts: The park’s summer concert series continues through the end of the month, with shows happening at 7 p.m. Saturdays. The concerts are free, with donations appreciated.

  • Aug. 24: Rooster Tails
  • Aug. 31: Heavy Pettys, local all-female Tom Petty tribute band

Movie: “The Greatest Showman will be screened at dusk on Friday, Aug. 30.