‘Winter Light Fest’ cheers dark evenings

Find why folks put on the Portland Winter Light Festival, and see some of the fantastic creations that illuminated the venues …

Guests are invited to walk through this attraction, called “The Cloud”, created by Holst Architecture and 2.ink Studio.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The third annual Portland Winter Light Festival, inspired by events around the world, returned on the first three days of February to the place where it began – primarily, around the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).

The event, put on by the Willamette Light Brigade, expanded to the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, and other locations in the greater Portland area.

Brightening up the dark and damp winter nights is the goal, says Portland Winter Light Festival Communications Manager Michelle David.

“The Portland Winter Light Festival is interactive, family-friendly, and is created to inspire people of all ages – by combining art and technology,” remarked the event’s communications manager, Michelle David.

“Each year the festival has grown, starting here at OMSI; the second year it expanded to the Zidel Marine yards across the river,” David told East Portland News. “This year, we also have art and displays downtown at the World Trade Center, in the Park Blocks, and as far out as St. Johns.”

Trogdor the Dragon lights up the OMSI plaza by shooting fire. [Inset] Creator Ivan Mclean says he made it for a barbecue-building competition in Bend, and he shows the two-burger grill inside of it – “which makes it what I call the ‘World’s Most Impractical Barbecue’.”

Exploring amongst the lighted tentacles of this exhibit are Nedra Rezinas and Roxi Rezinas.

“The cheerful Holiday lighting suddenly goes dark in January, and it seems like many people don’t come out of the house to play until April or May!” David observed. “So, the founders and supporters create this Winter Light Festival each year, saying it’s important to them, on some of the darkest and gloomiest days of winter, to create a free ‘light hearted’ event for people to enjoy – one that gets them out of their houses!”

Making final adjustments on opening night, sculptor Michael Taluc is seen standing by the lower portion of his tall rotating artwork White Curve #2.

Seth Byrnes introduces guests to his work, Piccolo Violino (the big violin), that’s played by waving one’s hand in the sound chamber.

Many guests come to the festival wearing lighted fashion accessories.

Folks attending the venues were encouraged to don festive accessories illuminated by battery powered LEDs, electroluminescent wire, flashlights, and other glowing items.

“The best parts of it for me is admiring the artistic creations, and also, seeing increased engagement every year as people think plan and act finding ways to contribute,” David said.

Anyone for glow-in-the-dark ping-pong? It’s one of the many attractions at this year’s Portland Winter Light Festival.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

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