Light Up Bowen adds a dash of Tchaikovsky to this weekend's lineup

Visions of sugar plum fairies will dance on the terrace between the Snug Café and Copper Spirit Distillery Nov. 30. A Nutcracker-inspired stop is the latest addition to the island’s Light Up Bowen tradition. 

The cove Christmas kickoff is a little earlier than islanders may expect as it’s happening the last evening of November rather than the first Saturday of December, but organizer Basia Lieske expects this year’s event to be as illuminating as ever. 

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The evening starts at 6 p.m. in Village Square. Phoenix is handing out glow sticks while the Ruddy has an open house and the Bowen Island Community Choir accompanies the merriment. 

This year, the procession will go down Trunk Road rather than behind Davies Orchard. Candy Cane lane will run beside First Credit Union while the white birch tree display will be in front of Bowen Island Integrated Health and the Bowen Island Learning Centre. Mascots will lead the revellers down the hill, first through the crossroads building, where there’s an open house, and down to around the Sea Breeze building where there’s a live nativity at about 6:30 p.m. Tuscany will provide hot chocolate and candy canes. 

A bit further down the road is the gathering of the sugar plum fairies. 

Basia encourages everyone to come dressed as the Nutcracker character (moms, dads, kids, dogs, grandparents, local reporters, you get the picture) for a Tchaikovskian treat! 

Copper Spirit Distillery, Connie Wright Originals Boutique and Squirrel will also have goodies.

Then, in true Tchaikovskian form, at promptly 7 p.m. Union Steamship Company Marina will set off its cannon and the Family Place’s Festival of Trees will illuminate. 

And, as he does every year, Santa will arrive on Cormorant Marine’s tug boat. The jolly fellow will greet children in Doc Morgan’s. Basia says that families with young kids should ask to go to the front of the line while other children can write letters and decorate cookies at Santa’s Workshop while they wait their turns. 

The Undercurrent got a hold of Basia while she was on a Christmas lights shopping mission. While she has many, many lights from previous years, more strings are always needed as Basia tries to include new elements each year. Next year she hopes to convince some folks to dress up their trucks in the ferry lineup. 

If islanders are in the cove this week, they may see the Bowen volunteer extraordinaire stringing lights and setting up snowmen. However, Basia’s always looking for help, installing lights, for mascots, elves and donations for more decorations. She can be contacted at

“I appreciate all the donations for the cove,” says Basia, recognizing particularly Jewal Maxwell, Jen Ritchie and the Light Up Bowen team. 

Basia also notes that Light Up Bowen once again has the help of L.A. costume designer Liz Nankin. Last year, Nankin designed the Snow King and Queen costumes to be donned this year by Michael Nankin and Cynthia Van Hoof Barthel. This year, Nankin is designing the lead Sugar Plum Fairy costume, a role Michelle Harrison of Ginger 66 will take up. 

One of the advantages of the Trunk Road-side procession is that Basia says that the cove lights will stay up for all of December. 

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