Dreaming With My Eyes Open: Portland’s Winter Light Festival

Emotion is art. In dreams you feel more than you see. There are also no rules or limits in either. Art and dreams are so alike, both require the same source: a dreamer to make it happen. Everything here was once just someone’s abstracted thought at one time. Then the dreamer made it into reality so many could dream together wide awake. I want to tell you about a place where art and dreams converge, a portal to an alternate dimension that opens for a few days once a year in the Metro Portland Area. 

For those who crave the light during the darkness of winter there is a mecca for us: Portland, Oregon’s Winter Light Festival. This is where light is attracted and reflected on all who want to be immersed in it. As JOY seekers we found a way to push aside the darkness and allowed the chromatic spray of the full spectrum of light to bath us in creativity. Both my family and dear friends enjoyed how life would just change all around us with different bright hues as if we were all in the same dream together.

Another part of this festival is the community of local performing entertainers gifting their talents throughout all 4 days, with many doing multiple showings. This is EXTREMELY kind of them since this event is large, and I appreciate them trying their best to give different chances for many to see their art in action.

This FREE 4 day annual event is a gift to all from local artists and entertainers. In a mere two hours we saw about 40 art light displays which was only a third of the event. This “Alternate Dimension” is vast, but I will try to to be a guide for those who may want to adventure here in the future.

The event spills across both sides of the river. When you go on the official website for this event, you can get detailed maps for both the East and West sides that shows where all the exhibits are located. There is also a yacht that a local business loans out for free to ferry across the river. Be aware, though – it’s a popular form of transportation and there is at least a 30+ minute wait in line to use it, so plan accordingly.

Another way to cross the river is by bridge which is a 20 min walk across – I timed it! There is also a trolley that gives free shuttle rides, although be sure you look at their routes and carefully plan your stops.This event requires lots of walking. My mobile device tracked my steps and we had walked 4 miles that night to see all the exhibits, with trips across two bridges.

I love making my royal look match the ambiance of this festival each year. This year I added color to enhance my own personal glow. I thought it was interesting how at times my gown would be in sync with the art. I felt like a chameleon,  taking on the beautiful shades of my surroundings. I had no control over that natural occurrence – it just happened! I was grateful the weather behaved at the Winter Light Festival for both of the two past years I have attended. Typically, you want to make sure you got enough layers on for warmth and something to help keep the rain from soaking you while enjoying the festival – Oregon’s beauty can be fickle and fierce!

If you are going to ask – yes, I absolutely adore the compliments given to me whenever I get dressed up, especially from the little ones. They are alway curious about who I am and when I tell them my name is Devine Marie, the Queen of Dreams their eyes get so big! I love seeing their JOY while meeting them, and I hope that I contribute to the magic of their experience. People, too, are amongst my favorite art to observe. I love how the human body’s expression, voice, musical skill, and visual perspectives all can show imaginative conceptual ideas of beauty and emotion.

Did you know if you listen carefully you can *hear* the sounds of color? It’s true! Listen below, can you see what you are hearing? That is the secret that can be learned once you unlock the magic hidden inside all of music. If you can’t see or hear what I mean, turn off that “adult switch” that’s installed in our heads.

How can a place exist that is hot enough to melt a disco ball, yet cold enough to freeze a heart? Dreams don’t need to make sense. All you can do is wander through them let them unfold before you. That’s the beauty of a dream.

I have to say the city of Portland has a mad and beautiful passion for individualism. Some may see that as “weird” to be unattached to social expectations, but for the creative dreamers this is FREEING. Let’s please KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD and end bland living!

WARNING: This is Portland. Know dreams can be very LUDICROUS while here, it keeps things wonderfully weird – as it should be.

WARNING: This is Portland so know dreams can be very LUDICROUS while here, it keeps things wonderfully weird like it should be.

* Insiders Style Tips

I will share how I created my custom gown: To give a multidimensional full bell flare, I layered 3 different petticoats underneath. I then added wired fairy lights underneath to give it some glow through the tulle skirt. For my PNW Snow Flake Crown Wreath, I took a glittery pine wreath I already had and added 4 battery light snowflake necklaces to wrap it in. Then for warmth in freezing temperatures I wore a thermal shirt under a knit sweater, fleece scarf,  thermal leggings, sweatpants, and a faux white fur wrap. 

For more information about Portland’s Winter Light Festival click here

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