The Water Lantern Festival during a past event. | Courtesy Water Lantern Festival
IDAHO FALLS — A beautiful spectacle is coming to Idaho Falls this weekend — as a large array of glowing lanterns will be released into a local pond.
This Saturday, for the first time, the “Water Lantern Festival” is coming to Idaho Falls. The event is described as a magical night with food, vendors, music and lanterns. The festival runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at The Waterfront at Snake River Landing.
According to its website, the Water Lantern Festival has been voted #1 Best Festival by USA TODAY. The festival is an experience where thousands of family, friends and strangers celebrate together and “light the water.”
The event is about community connection.
“With COVID and everything happening the last couple of years, we just kind of lost a sense of community and so we are really trying to highlight and focus on that and get everybody to come together again,” said Hayden Earl, community outreach specialist with the festival. “I think that’s the main focus: a really fun environment, it’s social, surrounded by great people.”
Watch the video below to see what the event is all about.
Purchased tickets include a floating lantern kit, LED candle, commemorative drawstring bag, marker, playing cards and conversation cards. After checking in for the event, attendees can decorate their lanterns, visit food trucks and local vendors, then set up a picnic blanket and enjoy live music. There will even be cornhole to play.
Right before the lantern launch in the evening, there is an opportunity for people to share what they have decorated on their lanterns and explain what the event means to them. It’s described as an open mic.
“I think it is probably the most impactful part of the night. It gets pretty emotional sometimes. A lot of people will come to this event as a form of remembrance for someone that they have lost and so you really do get some super inspiring stories from the attendees, which is absolutely fantastic,” Earl said.
Courtesy Water Lantern Festival
Then the lantern launch happens. It will take place in the pond at The Waterfront at Snake River Landing. Earl said it’s a beautiful visual where lanterns reflect off the water and glow.
“It really does feel like a fairytale, very much like a magical night,” he said.
He recalls working at a past event in another city and being on water duty, making sure that none of the lanterns got too far out.
“I had this super unique opportunity where some of our lanterns got out past our buoy line and so I had to swim out and get them,” he said. “But just looking back onto the beach, as lanterns were launching, there was a full moon, and I just kind of took a second and thought, ‘This is the coolest thing ever to see 3,000 lanterns floating in this beautiful pattern.’”
Courtesy Water Lantern Festival
The Water Lantern Festival has been across the United States and has toured over 100 cities. It has brought thousands of people to the event. Earl said it’s based out of Logan, Utah.
Tickets are currently on sale for $26.98 and will jump to $55.99 the day of the event. A portion of ticket sales benefit Water.org, a global nonprofit organization working to bring water and sanitation to the world with the goal of making access safe, accessible and cost-effective, according to a news release. Click here to buy tickets. Click here for detailed event information on what to expect in Idaho Falls.
It’s a night that attendees won’t forget and can create long-lasting memories.
Earl suggests that people come with an intention.
“When you have an intention, it really makes it more meaningful. You design your lantern in a more meaningful way. It’s not so sporadic and I think that’s where a lot of people drive a ton of meaning from the event if they come with the intention to remember someone or the intention to start a new chapter of their life or say goodbye to an old chapter of their life,” he said.
Water Lantern Festival event information. | Courtesy Water Lantern Festival
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