The 2011 festival was held on June 21st, solstice, in George Wainborn Park at the foot of Richards Street, overlooking False Creek and surrounded by new residential high rises. The event started at 5 pm and ended with a sunset procession to the water’s edge to release Ukrainian Ivana Kupala wreaths into False Creek.
Pre-event activities included 5 days of lantern making workshops over a three week period at the Gathering Place storefront. At 5:30 a procession of lanterns, stilters and music from the Gathering Place proceeded to George Wainborn Park where the majority of events were held.
Kunaka Marimba launched the event with the un-amplified marimbas drawing the positive attention of many of the high rise residents. They were followed by Morris Dancers, Zeelia (Ukrainian Vocal Group), the Gathering Place Choir, Indian Time Drummers and Dancers, Orkestar Slivovica (Eastern European Brass Marching Band) and led by the Master of Ceremonies, Barb Snelgrove.
Free food was served to three hundred people. The site was animated by Stilt Walkers and festival banners donated by Still Moon Arts Society. Many children from the surrounding high rises won prizes by participating in games and other activities.
At sunset Orkestar Slivovica led a 4 block procession to a water access point on False Creek as part of the traditional “Ivana Kupala” Ukrainian Solstice celebration wreath launch. This activity involved building wreaths made with natural materials such as twigs, flowers and natural plants (e.g. St Johns Wort, wild daisies, bind weed, beach tansey, golden rod and other wild herbs). Candles were placed in the wreaths and they were floated on the water to carry the hopes and dreams for the upcoming season. This practice combined spiritual practice with a fun competition to see whose wreath and candles would last longest. In the end, a boat was launched to gather the wreaths in order to keep the inlet clean.