(Almost) Attending The Lights Festival

Photo by  Leon Contreras  on  Unsplash

If you've watched the Disney movie Tangled, then you most probably know how magical hundreds of lanterns up in the sky would be, and being able to say/sing, "and at last, I see the light"… Well, the good news is that you can experience it in real life whether you have a Flynn Rider or not.

The Lights Festival is an event where families and friends gather for a fun, positive, and one-of-a-kind experience. It involves food, live music, dancing, and hundreds of sky lanterns. The lantern release is a great way for people to share personal wishes, dreams, goals, and sometimes even to honor and remember lost loved ones. According to their official website, "It creates a surreal ambiance, where time slows down as your single flame rises with thousands of others."

This festival is held in different countries and cities and has a perfect safety record thanks to their strategic consideration of each venue and weather conditions. Another important factor for me is confirming that the lanterns are environment and animal-friendly. The lanterns are 100% biodegradable and are made from rice paper, string, and bamboo with no metal wire. They also have a special clean-up crew gathers the lanterns within 24 hours after each event and disposes them properly.

This year, The Lights Fest is visiting various cities in the US such as Houston, Dallas, Austin, Washington DC, Atlanta, Baltimore, Southern California, and Philadelphia among many others. They also have more locations available coming soon including major cities in England. Click on this link if you want to check if there is an event near you. (Not Sponsored)

But anyway, to tell you about my personal experience and let’s just say first attempt in having this experience, we purchased Early Bird tickets to the event happening in Philadelphia, PA, since it's the one closest to New York.

The night before the event day, we prepared the suggested "What to bring" and even bought collapsible chairs for us to use in the field while waiting for the lantern launch. The following day, we left around noon since check-in starts at 3:00 pm and ends at 6:00 pm, and we have a 2.5-hour drive from Brooklyn, NY.

Ticket prices are:

  • VIP: $25

  • Early Bird: $30

  • Regular: $35

  • Late: $45

  • Last Call: $50

  • Final Price: $60

Leaving New York | Verrazano Bridge

Leaving New York | Verrazano Bridge

Then began what seemed to be "A Series of Unfortunate Events" - halfway through our travel, we got a flat tire, discovered that there were different screws needed to change the tire, hence we don't have the equipment (or something like that, I'm not really an expert, aside from being a professional passenger). The worst part is that it turns out, we were on a restricted highway, which we learned after an hour of waiting for the insurance company's roadside assistance, which never came by the way. So we waited for another hour for the designated restricted highway assistance people (again, not an expert, all I know is that someone finally came to help).

It was already 6:00 pm when we finally can go our way again (Ultra worst part - I really needed to pee). We know it's already late but we still decided to give it a try. It's already Fall season so the sun is beginning to set. We traveled for another hour (but first stopped at a service station a.k.a. salvation for those who badly needs to pee a.k.a. me).

After driving down a dark, spooky road leading to the field, we finally arrived at the venue where we were greeted by the hundreds of lanterns already up in the sky. It seems that they were launched just moments ago. Even though we were already late, there are still a few cars still arriving after us. Still, we thought of parking and just watching the lanterns from afar.


By then,  I thought our unfortunate events are done since we already missed the event, but that's not the end of it. While looking for a spot to park, we saw an SUV stuck in a muddy ditch. When we turned our car around to go the opposite direction, ta-da - we got stuck too!

Thankfully, the man from the stuck car and another guy helped us get unstuck. We tried helping the other car too but to no avail. We were advised by the marshals to leave before it gets crowded since people are beginning to leave the venue as well.

We started the journey home, stopped to grab dinner, and talked about the events that transpired. Even though we were disappointed to have missed the event, I am just grateful that we were safe, somehow was still able to see the lanterns in the sky, and was guided by the beautiful moon shining brightly in the cloudless sky. | B