“Letting Go,” my prior blog, was written before attending the Lantern Fest, I waited to publish it because the releasing of lanterns symbolically fit the topic of letting go and I was hoping I would get some great shots to add to that post. But there was so much more to the Lantern Fest we attended, beyond the symbolism, so I wanted to write about it.
LEADING UP TO THE EVENT
I found out about the Lantern Fest on Facebook, which, in my opinion, is Facebook’s strength right now: finding events of interest. I’ve seen so many photos of Lantern releases in other countries and the events always appeared so magical, so I knew when I saw the event on Facebook, I wanted to experience it. I also found out that it is an event that runs nationally and was founded in November 2013. There are several other USA locations forthcoming.
EVENTS WITH TEENS
I’m going to bet that many people with teens know that, at this point in life, spending time with mom or dad isn’t high on their priority list. In fact, I think, as parents, we rank near the bottom of the list of whom they want to hang with on the weekend! I am faced with this reality; despite all the travel and events we did when they were young and they couldn’t wait to go somewhere with me. But that is a part of them becoming independent, which is important. So, most of the time, they spend their time based on their plans. This time, I wanted to experience this with them because we don’t often have that opportunity very often: with just us, so I signed us up. Heading to the event I didn’t have two very excited people with me. One kept asking how soon we could leave once we got there and the other was just silent and both were exhausted from the soccer games they played all day.
I love Google Maps especially because it reroutes us based on traffic jams, so we ended up taking some back-roads and missed most of the traffic arriving quickly. We arrived just after sunset due to the soccer game schedules and getting ready after them, but if I ever go again, I would be there before sunset. Immediately upon arriving we could see lights all over a field ; it was a huge festival. We headed through the Brookdale Farms gates, opposite the activity for parking and took a long windy gravel road back to the corn fields where we parked. It was dark out now so we found our way back to the event from headlights shining on the gravel, highlighting a few mud puddles, but of course one of us found a puddle on the way.
I wasn’t sure when the release was going to happen, so I wanted to find the lantern packages as soon as possible. I knew the event started at 2pm and there were little ones running around, so people with them would be getting anxious to release the lanterns soon.
We initially saw all sorts of food trucks and tents lit up, then asked someone in one of the tents where we would find the lanterns. They directed us to the back of the event and told us to look for a white tent. We walked for quite a while, and kept going, following the crowd. As we passed in smoke filled air, we saw fire pits with groups surrounding them, tiki torches, and groups enjoying s’mores- awesome! We made it to the tent where we were given our lanterns and boxes with the instructions and s’mores sticks. We stepped to the side and noticed we were at the edge of a lake which was so beautiful reflecting the lights. We could hear music in the distance, then heard the announcement that the launching would soon occur. We didn’t have much time to figure it out, so we waited to launch ours, preferring to watch and video this massive launch. It was beautiful, incredible sight!
I attempted to get some good photos, but it was so dark I couldn’t see my camera settings and fumbled around with the camera, taking whatever I could get and hoping to capture some of it. Most ended up blurred.
Learning how to light the lantern, waiting until the gas filled the balloon then releasing into the dark sky…
Our arrival timing worked out because many people left after the launch, so some of the fire pits were now freed up. We found one near the lake and decided to try out our newly purchased GABOSS inflatable loungers. These were perfect for the night. We had an energetic one with us who loved filling these bags with air.
As soon as we had them set up people kept stopping by asking us about them and where we got them. Click the GABOSS link if you want to order one! They are sold with a shoulder bag and are much easier than carrying a folding camp chair. They can be used individually or as a lounger with two or three people and will support over 400 pounds.
We made s’mores, then relaxed in the loungers, waiting for the second launch. By this time, my phone died, but I still had my camera and could get a few more shots of the night. The music added to the atmosphere, the night was a little chilly but when the fire was going it was an exceptional outdoor night. Being near the lake was perfect too, as the first wave of people were leaving, the white and red car lights looked like Christmas lighting. We decided to lounge outside until the traffic died down.
LEAVING THE EVENT
By this time, everyone was starving. Because of the soccer schedules, there was very little time between games, so none of us ate much since breakfast, besides a few snacks. The craving was Italian pasta, needing those carbs! My daughter searched on Google maps and found Joe Baccardi’s which was still open, thankfully! It was about 9:30 pm, so we headed there and everyone ordered. We barely made it through the meal, with my son was falling asleep at the table, so we headed out just before closing time. I think all but me fell asleep in the car on the way home. I know for me; this was just what I wanted: spending time with them and both of my teens seemed to enjoy it too! We talked about attending one again.
OPPORTUNITY FOR SCIENTIFIC CREATIVE PEOPLE
As with anything, there are multiple viewpoints. After I posted pictures and videos on Facebook the next day, I had a friend send me some pictures of the after math. This was bad, it looked like trash everywhere, on trees, homes etc. The event was so much fun, but this was not good. Hopefully with technology and creative people, there can be a solution for some biodegradable, quick dissipating material that could possibly be used in the future for lanterns to avoid the landfall? I’m hoping that someone reading this knows someone or is creative and comes up with a solution, maybe a future Patent? If you read this and know of someone who might be able to do this, please share this post!