Pacific Grove is known for its beautiful scenery and small town feel. And something that unites residents there is the annual Feast of Lanterns, a tradition that dates back to the turn of the 20th century.
On Friday, Pacific Grove had its 63rd annual Pet Parade at Caledonia Park, all part of the Feast of Lanterns.
“You’ll be luck to get three cats, but we’ll probably, could have 200 dogs. It’s an organized chaos,” said Don Mothershead, the senior recreation coordinator for Pacific Grove.
The pet parade was not always a part of the Feast of Lanterns, but it became part of of the tradition in the mid-20th century.
The first ever Feast of Lanterns started in 1905, but it did not happen consistently every year, especially through the world wars.
“There were times when the feast was happening and times when it wasn’t. And in 1958, Elmarie Hurlbert Hyler Dyke formally revived the feast,” said Kaye Coleman, the president of the board of directors for the Feast of Lanterns.
The feast originated out of the Chautauqua Assembly in 1874. It was a movement that aimed to educate people about the different cultures that were culminating in the United States through immigrants.
“The Chautauqua Assembly would end their summer retreat with a pageant and a parade and fireworks. And the most popular story was the Legend of the Blue Willow,” said Coleman. “That’s why we act out the Legend of the Blue Willow because Pacific Grove was the Chautauqua of the West.”
The Feast of Lanterns is Pacific Grove’s oldest tradition. It is meant for all ages, and animals, to celebrate the history of the city and the Monterey Peninsula.
“This event is fun for everybody. Everybody that comes here enjoys it and looks forward to it each year. It’s the Feast of Lanterns. It’s been going on for eons,” said Joan Selbicky, a Pacific Grove resident.
“It’s kind of a celebration in my opinion. A celebration of like this is who we are. You can’t really change us, we’ll celebrate what we want. And with our pets,” said Lillian, another Pacific Grove resident.
The Feast of Lanterns is going to culminate on Saturday with a full list of events at Lovers Point Park in Pacific Grove ending with a big fireworks display.