Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Feast of Lanterns Pageant - Pacific Grove

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The Feast of Lanterns Pageant
July 27, 2013



“Pacific Grove’s oldest community celebration started about 1880, with a parade of small watercraft bearing lighted Chinese and Japanese lanterns wending their way from Monterey to the main beach area on the closing evening of the annual Chautaugua Assembly.  It slowly evolved  into a more organized event ...The year 1905 is marked as its official beginning.   The one consistent feature of the celebration throughout its long history has been the appearance of hundreds, even thousands of oriental paper lanterns." (1)



Today,


 hundreds of lanterns 
are lit by LED bulbs, 


and they reside on the beach, not in the water.  



Due to the temporary safety zone put in place by the Coast Guard to protect mariners in the cove from the firework show later that evening, the only watercraft (besides the dragon that is shown in the lower right hand corner below) that paraded into the cove came to take Koong-se (Queen Topaz) and Chang to their rendezvous.   



Yet the beach and surrounding area was packed with people (very possibly the entire town of Pacific Grove, population 15,000 plus)  waiting for the pageant night ceremonies to begin.  Okay maybe I am exaggerating, but it was definitely standing room only.



Many families set out their blanket days prior, trusting that when they returned, they would find their spot undisturbed, exactly where they had left it.


Only in Pacific Grove,
 considered one of America's last hometowns, 
would this be possible.  
This family friendly eight day long festival starts with Family Fun Day and Chalk Fest, then Feast of Flavors, a Pet Parade, Feast of Dancing, all day beach day, 
the Festival and Pageant Night with fireworks, and finally the closing ceremonies.
This is all made possible by the Pacific Grove Feast of Lanterns, Inc., a non profit organization with two goals.  First to provide scholarships for the current year's court 
and second to keep Pacific Grove's heritage alive with this 100 plus year old tradition.  Every year it is a struggle for the organization to bring in the funds, so please Feed The Dragon!

My husband and I decided to pair pageant night with two other couples and dinner at the newly opened Beach House restaurant at Lover's Point. 


Just between you and me, if you want to be up close and personal to the pageant and fireworks reserve a table by the window in the main dining room, 


or on the newly expanded
 heated outdoor seating area 



or if you are feeling lucky, cruise in after dinner and have coffee
                                                
and desert at the bar as you wait for the pageant to begin after dark.  
                                                                 

The Beach House is open from 4PM daily. $10 entrees are available if you are seated by 5:30 and order by 6PM.


  It is still early on the evening of the pageant,
 but here is our view to the beach...

later here is our view for the pageant 

and  finally the
fireworks. 
In order that my friends and I might be able to get a window table next year, kindly forget what I said about The Beach House Restaurant (620 Ocean View Blvd.) being the perfect place to view the Feast of Lanterns Pageant and fireworks.  Might I suggest that it is the perfect place to dine all the other 364 days a year.  
___
Credits

(1) Kent Seavey and The Heritage Society of Pacific Grove, Images of America, Pacific Grove (Arcadia Publishing 2005), p 93.

Photos
Seavey, 92. Lover's Point 1910 waiting at the pier below the Japanese teahouse to enjoy the Feast of Lanterns.  Photo courtesy Monterey Public Library, California History Room.

Seavey, 78. Lover's Point 1896.  The Pacific Grove Bath House to the right was built by John L. Birks in 1893 in partnership with Nathaniel Sprague and S. A. Ely.  Photo by J. K. Oliver, courtesy of California History Room Montery Public Libarary.

Seavey, 91. Lover's Point Cove 1907.  Photo by C. K. Tuttle, courtesy of Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History.

Photos - L. A. Momboisse www.carmelbytheseaca.blogspot.com