Revelers dressed in their aquatic finest are set to step off from Frenchtown’s Lenape Sunbeam Park at dusk on Saturday, May 18 as part of ArtYard’s sold-out Aqualumina, a riverside lantern festival involving music, performance, and inspiring lighting at the river’s edge.

This year’s Aqualumina is a celebration of water itself — as a vulnerable resource, necessity, bellwether, and mirror of the sky. More than 500 community members donning illuminated jellyfish parasols, crocheted coral reef hats, cardboard boats, fish tank skirts, and other unique creations will process along the rail trail with stops on ArtYard’s campus to experience dance and choral performances by Brian Sanders’ JUNK, Sister Cities Voices, and PhilHarmonia.

“The Aqualumina Festival was designed to bring the community together around the dreamy charms of a riverbank at dark,” said Jill Kearney, ArtYard founder and executive director.

While registration is full for this event, there’s plenty more in store for art lovers this season, including a new exhibition featuring works by talented Delaware Valley Regional High School students, new events set for our Late Shift hours on Thursday evenings, a bookbinding workshop for teens, and the return of our popular Creative Movement for Older Adult series.

ArtYard capped Aqualumina’s registration at 500 to limit overcrowding, keep the event safe and under control, and ensure we can host Aqualumina and other community festivals in the future. Donations to support ArtYard and ensure we can continue to provide affordable programming are welcome.

Registered participants are invited to gather from 6 to 7 PM at Lenape Sunbeam Park ahead of planned welcome remarks and a communal dance lesson beginning at about 7:15 PM. The procession itself is expected to depart at about 8:30 PM and lead revelers along the rail trail, South Washington Street, Old River Road, and back to the front lawn of ArtYard for a culminating performance and communal dance. The event is set to end by 10 PM.

The rail trail and Old River Road include uneven terrain that those with mobility issues may find challenging, especially in low-light conditions, and a portion of the procession includes the use of a small stairway. Participation in the procession is at your own risk. Those who prefer to be spectators for the festival can meet along the rail trail in front of ArtYard Center.

Parking for the festival is a short walk from the park at Old Frenchtown Field on 12th and Harrison streets. A $5 donation for parking supports the Delaware Valley Regional High School Performing Arts Boosters Club.

Volunteers will be stationed at regular intervals to guide the procession and provide additional lighting where needed. Bathrooms will be located at Lenape Sunbeam Park and ArtYard Center’s parking lot, as well as inside ArtYard Center. A portable bathroom is also available near the end of the procession on Old River Road.

Aqualumina launched in 2021 with a performance by JUNK in Ancestral Lights, an outdoor dance performance illuminating refugee narratives and kindling light in a time of darkness and displacement, culminating in a joyous communal dance featuring community members carrying illuminated paper lanterns at ArtYard’s Courtyard.

Read more about Aqualumina and find a schedule and FAQ here