by Carla White
On Nov. 3, 2012, the sun will set at 5:49 p.m. Assuming fair weather, the western sky will transition from fiery orange and fuschia hues to the deepest purple-black of night. This is the time when the northwestern coastline of Baja California is peaceful, illuminated every few miles by light clusters that represent cities, towns and fishing villages. But on this special Saturday night — a changeable climate notwithstanding — there will be something different happening. At exactly 7 p.m., hundreds and even thousands of beautiful multi-colored ‘wish lanterns’ will be released into the atmosphere as ‘Shine On Baja’ lights up Baja’s Pacific Coast.
‘Shine On Baja’ is a nonprofit community art project and the brainchild of artist interior designer Debbie Shine, along with producer Robin MacKenzie. Both have a profound fondness for Baja and thought that there would be no better way to express this than through what they refer to as a ‘mob art’ event — the largest and possibly most unique in Baja’s history. Like many Americans who live or travel to this part of Mexico, the women feel that the region has been somewhat beaten up in recent years by negative media attention and misconceptions about Baja. ‘Shine On Baja’ is their real and symbolic way of sending a message of beauty and hope about the region’s present and future.
As simple as the idea sounds, though, staging an event of this scope is an entirely different matter! Shine and MacKenzie have managed to bring awareness of the project to Baja residents from Tijuana to Ensenada, and so far hundreds have gone to a website to purchase wish lanterns — four-foot-tall biodegradeable units that will stay alight for about 12 minutes — have been acquired for $2-$4 in preparation for the release. Debbie Shine notes that there is even a discount available on the lanterns (coupon code Baja2012). Although individuals and communities can elect to have their own release parties, it is anticipated that many will opt to join launch parties at ‘safe zones’ and restaurants and hotels up and down the coast in the hope that the result will be a jewel-like effect for more than 35 miles.
Among the venues that will host launch parties are Splash!, the Lighthouse, Rosarito Beach Hotel, La Salina Cantina, Javi’s Paradise, Plan B (km. 22), Castillos del Mar, Las Olas Grand & Las Cristales Restaurant, and Puerto Nuevo #2. A number of communities will host group parties, including Club Marena, Las Palmas, San Antonio del Mar, Campo Lopez, Calafia, La Jolla, Popotla and Las Ventanas. Shine notes that the list of venues is growing rapidly and encourages potential ‘launchers’ to visit the ‘Shine On Baja’ facebook page frequently. For more information, contact event organizers Debbie Shine, firstname.lastname@example.org or Robin MacKenzie, email@example.com.
Want to visit Baja for ‘Shine on Baja’ and the release of colorful wish lanterns? Find out where to stay!
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