Portland Winter Light Festival

Tonight the Hubs and I went to the Winter Light Festival at OMSI. Inspired by the Light Festivals around the globe, Portland has curated it’s own show that illuminates the waterfront area around OMSI with contemporary light-based art installations and fun performances. They do this event annually during the first week of February and lasts for nearly a week.

This was our first year going to the light festival. The previous years something always seemed to come up. Whether it be one of us getting really sick, or getting off work to late, or even completely forgetting the date because we didn’t look at our calendar until it was already too late. But not this year. Nothing was going to stop us from attending.

After dinner the Hubs and I got ready to go to the festival. We were a bit floored by the amount of cars that were hovering around the blocks surrounding OMSI trying to find parking. We were attempting to do the same thing, find parking, but much to our annoyance we were having the hardest luck. That was when I told the Hubs to try going up and around OMSI from the other direction. By doing this slick little maneuver we were able to find parking a lot closer to the location of the festival, rather than having to walk in the rain from a mile or more away.

Once we got out of the car we immediately walked over to the Tillicum bridge, which was where the Festival’s Light Parade had already started crossing. We were able to catch a bit of the band and people dressed in the most awesome of costumes and donning an abundance of lights.

We even got a little video of it.

Once the parade went by we went to the gates. It was there that we were greeted by a man in a pineapple suit and another gentleman holding a cat.

When we went in we saw the big dome of light. I headed straight for it, dragging the Hubs along by the arm.

The lights were gorgeous and these pictures with my IPhone don’t do it justice. After standing for a moment under the dome we decided to move on to see more of the festival. A few feet away we discovered one of the performances. It was a gentleman doing fire performing, which was an amazing fete in itself due to all the rain that started to come down rather hard at that moment.

He did a fantastic job and the music that was playing with his act tied in very nicely. I unfortunately didn’t get any videos of his performance, but did get a few shots.

After watching his performance for a bit we moved further on. The next art installation was this very cool lit circle pad cluster that played different tones when you walked under it.

I thought it was very clever and was enjoying the sounds as they moved from one lit pad to the next. The Hubs wasn’t really enjoying it due to the constant bumping from other people while we were both standing under it. He wanted to keep moving and hopefully to somewhere a bit more dry and out of the rain. So we pressed on through the crowd of people. Further on we discovered one of the art light installations, a field of rainbow bunnies all a glow.

I liked the bunnies, but where they were at caused such a jam from the lines of people moving from one direction of the festival to the other part of the festival. So it was rather hard to take a moment to stop and snap a picture, unless you wanted to move a little out of the line of people but risk standing in a giant puddle of water. I did just that, stand in a puddle. Luckily it wasn’t a big one and didn’t engulf my shoes.

Further through the festival we encountered a lot of different art installations and hands on displays that we had the ability to touch or play around with if we desired to do so.

There were even a few installations that we walked through as part of the festival experience.

 But one of my favorite hands on activity at the festival was the ability to manipulate the sound and light of these bars that were overlooking the waterfront and bridge.

Here is a little video of doing just that.

 We made our way to the Portland Spirit, the cruise ship that does both dinner and lunch cruises to different locations out toward the Gorge. They were giving boat rides with entertainment for guests during the festival. For tonight’s festivities the Portland Spirit would take an hour ride along the waterfront.

Along the way we stopped at one of the art installations under the bridge and I just had to snap a few shots of the Hubs, who was being a good sport about the whole thing. We got a bit drenched during the beginning of our time at the festival and were a bit soaked through as well as cold.

We headed to the line for the Portland Spirit and boarded within minutes. Once we were on board we made our way to the second level of the boat.

After the crew released the ship from the dock we set sail. At first the Hubs and I sat on one of the benches along the second level, but after the rain began to drizzle against our already cold faces from the wind we decided to try and find a spot inside where the musicians were performing. We found a table and promptly sat down at it. We chatted for a bit about travel plans for the summer ahead while enjoying the theater company who were the musicians performing for the evening.
While on the ship I got to see one of my students with his family. I waved hello to them and then later when we were leaving the festival I saw them again and said good-bye. All in all the festival was fun. Very cold, and very wet. I think that next year we, the Hubs and I, will try to do the illuminated bike ride that they do as part of the festival.

Here are a few more photos from the festival, enjoy.




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