DUNEDIN — Restaurateur Tina Marie Avila has witnessed a variety of beautiful lantern parades around the world.
"I always wished we had one here," she said.
This weekend, her wish comes true as she and others bring the inaugural Life and Light Lantern Parade and Festival to Pioneer Park in downtown Dunedin.
Held in honor of Earth Day, the festival boasts two full days of lantern-making workshops, organic plant sales, seed swaps, funky music bands and sustainable gardening demonstrations.
Festival hours are 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
The event culminates Sunday at 8 p.m. with what Avila predicts will be a spectacular paper lantern parade as participants take to the streets with their glowing lanterns made from tissue paper, bamboo, twigs and other recycled materials.
The paper lantern workshops will be taught by members of the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons from Atlanta, a group advocating for creative play time.
There is no charge to make the lanterns, but the LED lights used to make them shine will be sold for $5 each. Participants will keep their illuminations.
The free event is sponsored by Casa Tina's family of downtown restaurants — Casa Tina's, the Cabana Café, and Pan y Vino Pizza and Wine — in partnership with the Dunedin Harvest Food and Garden Co-op.
The restaurants will be open during the event, and all net profits will be donated to Planting Seeds, a free organic workshop series, and the Dunedin One Percent Food Project, a sustainable living initiative to encourage 1 percent of all Dunedinites to grow their own food.
"It's a wonderful way to celebrate Earth Day and the meaning of community," Avila said.