Minneapolis Lantern Fest on February 21

The Minneapolis Downtown Council and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre announced today the inaugural Mpls Lantern Fest will take place Saturday, February 21 from 5-8 p.m. at Marquette Plaza in downtown Minneapolis.

The event will be a culmination of free workshops at various Minneapolis locations throughout February, at which participants of all ages and abilities will be able to create their own paper lanterns with the help and direction of In the Heart of the Beast teaching artists. Participants may build their own lantern at a workshop, then pick up their lantern on February 21 and take part in an illuminated movement beginning at 6 p.m.  Participants may take their lanterns home afterwards.

“We’re excited to introduce the Mpls Lantern Fest and start a new tradition here in Downtown Minneapolis,” said Leah Wong, vice president of events and marketing, Minneapolis Downtown Council. “Activities and events are a big part of creating a consistently compelling downtown experience, an initiative of our Downtown 2025 Plan. The Mpls Lantern Fest will be a great way to bring our downtown neighborhood and Minneapolis community together.”

[For more information on the Mpls Lantern Fest and workshops, visit DowntownMpls.com/mplslanternfest.]

Food, beverages and live entertainment will be on hand at Mpls Lantern Fest, which celebrates lighting the winter night. Lantern festivals date back to Chinese dynasties as early as 200 BC. They have since become gathering events in Europe and across the world, where children and adults alike build their own illuminated lanterns, and come together as a community.

The event is free and open to the public. Spectators and those who participated in workshops are encouraged to join us for free entertainment and festivities at Mpls Lantern Fest.

“At In the Heart of the Beast, our mission is to bring people together for the common good through the power of puppet and mask performances,” said Catherine Jordan, interim executive director, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre. “Mpls Lantern Fest not only brings people together, but it allows us to embrace the heart of winter while ushering in the warmth and illumination of spring. We’re thrilled to have this opportunity to shine light on our great downtown.”

Participate in a Workshop and be part of the experience:

  • Saturday, Feb. 7 (1-3 PM), Saturday, Feb. 14 (10 AM-12 PM) | Hosted by Intermedia Arts Gallery (2822 Lyndale Avenue S, Minneapolis, MN 55408)
  • Tuesday, Feb. 12 (5-8 PM) | Hosted by Juxtaposition Arts (1108 Broadway Avenue W, Minneapolis, MN 55411)
  • Saturday, Feb. 14 (2-5 PM) and Sunday, Feb. 15 (12-3 PM) | Hosted by ArtShare (Grace Center, 1500 6th Street NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413)
  • Powderhorn: Tuesday, Feb. 17, Thursday, Feb. 19 and Friday, Feb.20 (6-9 PM) | Hosted by In the Heart of the Beast (1500 Lake Street E, Minneapolis, MN 55407)
  • Uptown: Wednesday, Feb. 18 (6-8 PM) | Hosted by First Universalist Church, Chalice Room (3400 Dupont Avenue S, Minneapolis, MN 55408)
  • More to be announced

In the Heart of the Beast teaching artists Nicole Amaris, Eric Avery, Amy Ballestad, Bart Buch, Seth Eberle and Sandy Spieler will lead the workshops teaching participants how to build lanterns. All supplies will be provided. Participants are welcome to come and go during the allotted timeframe or stay as long as desired during the workshops in order to complete their projects. Artists on hand will do demonstrations and walk participants through the process of creating a lantern.

At Mpls Lantern Fest on Feb. 21, teaching artists will mobilize giant lantern puppets inspired by constellations —including a bear (rendering at right), rabbit, loon, fox and crow—that will provide artistic light and lead the movement. Participants will take their own lanterns and follow their teaching artist during the movement at Marquette Plaza.