700 Hour Labour of Love Brings a New King to Old Growth Cedar Nativity
WEST VANCOUVER, Dec. 15 /CNW/ - www.dundaravefestival.com - On Saturday December 18th, 2 pm to 9 pm, families, Morris dancers, firefighters and realtors,
community choirs and youth orchestras, and Master Carver Bill Seminoff
will gather at West Vancouver's spectacular Dundarave Beach to answer
homelessness at the Dundarave Festival of Lights. Their aim is to see
a forest of Christmas trees lit with 50,000 lights and a 10 metre high
bonfire raise $25,000 for the Lookout Emergency Aid Society's North
"The work of the Dundarave Festival of Lights is to gather the resources
and talent of our community to end homelessness beautifully," said
Festival spokesperson Michael Markwick. "We are seeing a depth of
commitment that we've never seen before, from every part of our
community, to make sure no one is left out in the cold."
Over the past two Christmases, the Dundarave Festival of Lights has
raised $50,000 in charitable donations to the Lookout Emergency Aid
The Lookout Society has used funds raised by the Festival to build the
North Shore Culinary Training Program under Chef Don Guthro. The
program gives employable skills to its trainees, allowing people who
are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless the power to find
and keep dignified employment.
Now in its nineteenth year, and one of the oldest coastal Christmas
festivals in Metro Vancouver, the Dundarave Festival of Lights crowns
four Saturdays of free concerts with its Christmas Wassail and Bonfire
Night. The Festival's Society, through the generous support of the
Department of Canadian Heritage, is streaming over $30,000 in new
funding to support school and community performing arts programs.
The Festival's Christmas Wassail and Bonfire Night this Saturday will
feature headline artists including Laurell, fresh from winning best new
album at the 2010 Western Canadian Music Awards, Blackthorn, and the
100 voice strong choir Burstin With Broadway. The Beach House
Restaurant, winner of Wine Spectator Magazine's "Award of Excellence",
will be serving up soul warming mulled wine on its ocean front terrace,
with all proceeds to the Lookout Shelter.
The Dundarave Nativity, life-sized carvings in old growth red cedar,
remains at the heart of Dundarave Beach where it has been every
Christmas for at least two generations as a witness to the reality of
homelessness in our community. Carved by an unknown artist, the
figures have been restored since 2005 by Master Carver Bill Seminoff.
This year, Seminoff spent 700 hours carving a new king for the nativity
as a labour of love, because he could not make peace with the presence
of only one king in this setting. Seminoff is at work now carving a
third king for next Christmas. He is using 2 tons of salvaged old
growth red cedar, a gift from Timberwest Forest Products.
Demand on the Lookout Emergency Aid Society's North Shore Shelter is
only one thousand bednights behind its counterpart across the harbour
in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Homelessness is growing on the North
Seniors are now being hit hard by the economic downturn. Lookout
reports eighty-year-old North Shore residents have started turning to
the shelter for help this year, a first in the shelter's history.
"The Dundarave Festival of Lights is helping all of the members of the
community to be a part of the local solution to homelessness," said the
Lookout Society's Executive Director Karen O'Shannacery. "Together we
are giving homeless women and men what they need to become healthier,
have a warm bed, regular meals and the support of trained staff.
Lookout provides a pathway off the streets and into homes, including
employment and life skills training necessary for a permanent exit from
The Festival attracts an estimated 65,000 people each year to its
Christmas trees on Dundarave Beach. Elders of the Squamish Nation
blessed the Festival's Longhouse and Nativity Pavilion.
At 5:00 pm Morris Dancers will lead an eclectic recreation of a 2010
Games Torch Relay to light the bonfire. The bonfire is provided
through the generous support of the District of West Vancouver.
Carol ships sail past Dundarave Beach at 7:10 pm Saturday night.
SOURCE Dundarave Festival of Lights
For further information:
Michael Markwick, 778-847-1426 firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter #dundaravefest, Facebook: Dundarave Festival of Lights