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Lantern Fest putting community gardens to bed

Locals invited to make lanterns, celebrate growth
The Common Ground Cortez Community Garden will celebrate the end of its growing season with a Lantern Fest on Oct. 14.

The Common Ground Cortez Community Gardens will be put to bed next week, and gardeners are marking the event with a Lantern Fest.

The event is intended to encourage community members to connect art and gardening and “ritualize the closing of the garden,” said Heidi Brugger, who is organizing the festival.

“There are lots of ways that we can tie the sense of growing food, and food security, with art,” she said. “Because both nourish.”

The Cortez Recreation Center will turn off the garden’s water on Tuesday, Oct. 15, and the festival will be held the evening before.

The garden, at the southwest corner of the rec center, provides a gardening space to residents and hosts various demonstrations, workshops and activities. Volunteer gardeners also grow produce to donate to the Good Samaritan Food Pantry.

Brugger said the Lantern Fest was inspired by a similar event in Jamaica Plains, Boston, which has roots in Dutch tradition.

“It was beautiful to see these lanterns reflected in the water,” she said.

The Cortez festival will begin at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, with attendees showing up to the garden with lanterns in hand. They will then walk – “perambulate,” in Brugger’s words – around part of the pond at Parque de Vida, cross Mildred Street and walk around the Centennial Park pond, and then return to the garden and extinguish the lanterns’ candles.

Three workshops are scheduled at the Cortez Public Library on Saturday, where participants can make their own lanterns. Materials are free, but each workshop is limited to 15 people. They are nearly full, Brugger said.

To see whether space is available, email Brugger at heidivnb@netscape.net. Participants may make a lantern using instructions at the event’s webpage.

Brugger said she hopes the event will become a Cortez tradition, similar to the Christmastime luminarias down Main Street.

“I hope it will make people see the garden as a resource,” she said.