An interactive community art project combined with modern adaptations of Celtic folklore and the presence of Celtic monsters will mark an evening of seasonal fun and fright inside the Cultural Tent at the Bonfire at the Iron Furnaces.
An annual tradition in the Electric City, the event will be held on Saturday, October 21, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the historic Iron Furnaces, 159 Cedar Avenue, Scranton. A fundraiser for the Anthracite Heritage Museum, this event explores the roots of Halloween in Celtic culture and celebrates other cultural autumn festivals while highlighting the region’s industrial past.
Three cultural organizations are partnering to host interactive programming: the Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science & Art; Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area; and the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple. These activities are designed to help Bonfire guests connect with Celtic traditions of the past, including:
Exquisite Corpse: Create a Celtic mythological creature at the Exquisite Corpse activity. Surreal artists developed this collaborative drawing approach to create bizarre and intuitive pieces. Bonfire guests will draw and decorate the head, body and feet of three creatures. At the end of the night, Cultural Tent hosts will mix and match body parts to create three strange and unique monsters!
Need inspiration? Check out the Linda Mitchell display. Throughout her work, Mitchell uses animal figures as surrogates for human beings and their emotional lives. Some of these figures speak directly to the child within and the vulnerable, delicate places hidden in everyone’s past. Others, particularly African animals, serve as emissaries from the ever-vanishing natural world. Inside the Cultural Tent, guests are invited to peruse photos of the Linda Mitchell: Truth in Animals exhibit now on display at the Everhart Museum.
Celtic Monster Meet-and-Greet: Ancient folklore comes to life for one special night as local actors portray Celtic monsters — some popular, some obscure. Don’t miss the chance to chat with an authentic Celtic creature.
Quiz: Who Is Your Inner Celtic Monster? Take a short quiz to discover which Celtic monster dwells within, and then snap a selfie with a monster against a magical backdrop.
Wishes Brew: This activity is a modern adaption of an ancient Welsh Halloween tradition, with a positive spin. In ancient times, bonfires were believed to hold magical powers on this night when the veil is thin between the earth and the spirit world. According to Welsh folklore, it was customary to light a bonfire on Nos Galan Gaeaf (Halloween), the night before Calan Gaeaf (the first day of winter). People painted their names on white stones, tossed them into the fire, and ran home as quickly as possible to avoid encountering evil spirits. They would return to site the next day to retrieve their stones. If a stone was missing, it meant the person would perish by the end of the year.
In lieu of painting rocks, Bonfire guests will pen their hopes and dreams on small scraps of paper and toss them into a cauldron to make a Wishes Brew. At the end of the night, the “brew” will be ceremoniously dumped into the bonfire ― igniting everyone’s hopes and dreams for the future and inviting the spirits to help make them come true.
In addition to Cultural Tent activities and the ceremonial lighting of the Bonfire, the event will feature music by Light Weight, fire twirlers, face painting, fire hooping, tarot card readings, a balloon artist, live theatre, food and beverages.
Tickets include admission to the festival and $5 in Bonfire Bucks redeemable for food, beverage, and activities. Tickets are $15 online or $20 at the gate. Children age 12 and under are admitted free. Halloween attire is welcomed. For tickets and more information, click here.