My Experience at The Lights Fest


Imagine attending an event unlike any other, bringing together loved ones with food, music, and a night sky lit with thousands of lanterns. The Lights Fest creates a safe and family-friendly experience using 100% biodegradable and fire-resistant lanterns. The lanterns do not contain any metal wire and are made from rice paper, string, and bamboo. Once the sky is dark, attendees begin to gather around Tiki torches to light lanterns and release them to float up into the sky. 

How does the evening lead up to the night?

Attendees arrive in the late afternoon to park and enter the site to get settled. The space is first come first serve, but the lights can be seen from any spot. Upon entering, a lantern, marker, and rubber bracelet are provided for each person. Extra lanterns and other items, such as light wands and inflatable couches, are also available for purchase. One of the most special parts of the evening is being able to write or draw a special message on the lanterns. Each person gets two sides to either write down a wish, something inspirational, or anything else they choose.

My recommendation is to turn this event into a fun picnic with loved ones. Whether it’s date night, a family outing, or a gathering of friends—remember to have blankets, lawn chairs, snacks or meals, and non-alcoholic drinks. Food vendors are also available on site. Live performers play music and provide announcements through the sunset, but small items such as games, bubbles, or balls are encouraged to help pass the time. Remember to charge any camera devices such as phones or GoPros to catch all the action when it starts to go down (or up, in this case!)


Location, location, location

While the events take place around the United States, there are specific sites to go to when it comes to releasing the lanterns. An email will be sent to confirm the location of the event. To ensure a safe evening, fire marshals require the events to be held at venues with sufficient acreage that are away from homes, businesses, and city limits. For example, the Chicago Lights Fest was held an hour north of the city in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. Other locations include Austin, Dallas, Nashville, Salt Lake City, and more. Click here to find a location near you.

Visit for more information on a magical night and follow them on Instagram: @thelightsfest

[Gallery images courtesy of Jennifer Novoseletsky]


Jennifer Novoseletsky is a proud Illinois State University alumna with a journalism degree. She has been writing and editing for more than seven years—three in the skin care industry. While her heart lies in the city of Chicago, she currently resides in the suburbs, but is drawn to mountains and the outdoors.