The water of the Shuswap River is calm, winding past Enderby as a cool late evening breeze rolls across the North Okanagan sky.
Multi-coloured handcrafted lanterns dot the river as the sun peaks behind the distant cliffs and paddleboarders, kayakers and canoeists float alongside the illuminated crafts.
A crowd fills Enderby’s Belvedere Park as families launch their lanterns down stream from the river stairs at dusk. Every year on the last Sunday in September, residents gather in the park for the spectacle, which falls Sept. 24.
“It started about 13 years ago and coincides with B.C. Rivers Day,” said Jasmin Wright, community outreach personnel with the event. “It’s a way to celebrate and honour the Shuswap River and see the beauty of the river in a different way.”
Several lantern building drop-in workshops are open leading up to the event. This year, the focus is on giant lanterns built using bamboo blinds, but participants are free to create and decorate their lanterns however they see fit.
“You can do some really beautiful designs on it with the tissue paper,” Wright said. “We encourage everyone to make a lantern, at home, with a group, or at one of our sessions.”
For those who aren’t interested in making lanterns, paddleboarders, kayakers and canoeists are needed to collect the lanterns when they reach the stopping point.
“It’s a very lovely thing,” Wright said of the spectacle.
The lanterns will be launched at roughly 7 p.m., and Wright encourages participants to show up around 6:30 p.m.