Submitted by Tacoma Light Trail.
Tacoma – It’s back! Fiery dragons and twinkling stars, glowing whales and sparkling statues – the Tacoma Light Trail returns for a second year, kicking off New Year’s Eve with a Light Parade, live performances in Tollefson Plaza Friday and Saturday nights, and two weeks of light art in downtown Tacoma buildings through January 16, 2022. The festival is free, accessible and family-friendly.
“The Tacoma Light Trail was so incredibly successful last year in lighting up a very dark time,” said founding director Rosemary Ponnekanti. “So we’re bringing it back bigger and better than ever, with more artists, more locations and live outdoor events.”
Over 40 venues will host light art from illuminated sculpture and painting to video projection and installations. Highlights include giant frames of stars, projected marine bioluminescence, glowing “planets”, a wildfire window and a big orange Trashoctopus.
As with last year’s Trail, each light art location can be found on an interactive map on the website, as well as in printed form available at libraries and museums. Each light art spot is also paired with local music or poetry, playable on the mobile app. Light art will be visible 5-9 p.m. every night, and is walkable/rideable/drivable within the downtown core between Dock Street, South 21st Street, Yakima Avenue and 6th Avenue.
Already, one light art exhibit is in place: a “teaser” display by Cheryl Rux in the Woolworth Windows at 11th Street and Broadway, complete with sea scenes and floating lanterns.
New this year, live performances of music, spoken word, circus and projection art will flow through Tollefson Plaza from 6-8 p.m. every Friday and Saturday, beginning Dec. 31. Performers include Up Up Up crane truck circus, Lelavision musical circus, musicians Jim Meck, Tacoma Fuji Taiko and Tacoma Girls Rock, Tacoma Poet Laureate Lydia K. Valentine, Write253, and dance from Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center and Asia Pacific Cultural Center. Ulysses Martin returns with live light projection mapping around the plaza. Tinkertopia will offer community light art-making, and there will be food trucks.
Performances go on rain or shine. The New Year’s Eve performance will be held undercover in the Tacoma Art Museum parking lot in case of rain. All attendees age 5+ are required to wear masks.
Finally, the whole Trail kicks off with a magnificent Light Parade led by the fiery dragon from Puget Sound Revels which appeared in the Pantages lobby last year. Giant First Night illuminated puppets and a brass band will join the parade, and everyone is invited to bring light and be a part. The parade will depart at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 31 and finish at Tollefson Plaza for the live performances – route to be announced soon. (Other Revels dragon parades happen throughout December around Tacoma.)
And make sure to bring your LED umbrellas, fairy light tutus and flashing shoes to the rest of the Trail as well.
“This year, we invite everyone to ‘be the light’ on the Light Trail,” explains Ponnekanti. “It’s so powerful when the whole community comes together as part of the light. The goal of the Tacoma Light Trail is to bring light to dark times, and to unify our community through things we all need – hope, truth, understanding, justice, peace – that are symbolized by light.”
A chance to create lanterns is coming up Nov. 20 at a Star Luminary workshop, held online through Tacoma Public Library. Materials are free. Sign up at Fern Hill, Mottett and Moore branches Nov. 12-19.
This year, Ponnekanti is also teaming up with others to produce the event, including Michelle Matlock of Circle Up Productions and Lisa Fruichantie of Alma Mater. Other support comes from Tacoma Creates, City of Tacoma Special Events, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Tacoma Public Utilities, Tacoma Sunrise Rotary and MultiCare. Tacoma Light Trail is fiscally sponsored by Shunpike, a 501c3 nonprofit.
ART: Light art 5-9 p.m. Dec. 31-Jan. 16 around downtown Tacoma
PARADE: 5:30 p.m. Dec. 31 (route tba ending at Tollefson Plaza)
PERFORMANCES: 6-8 p.m. Dec. 31, Jan. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15 at Tollefson Plaza, 1548 Commerce St, Tacoma
INFORMATION and MAP: www.tacomalighttrail.org