Pretty high on my bucket list is attending the Yi Peng Floating Lantern Festival, in Thailand, so when I heard about the Light Festival in “DC” I immediately knew I wanted to go.DC is in quotation marks because even though the event is marketed as a DC event the actual location is in Pennsylvania. Luckily for me, the venue was an hour and a half away, which is a doable drive in my book.
I attended the Light Festival two weeks ago. It’s essentially a huge group of people coming together to release their lanterns at the same time; creating a magical/ spiritual moment (depends on how you look at it ). The event is held in various cities across the US. The actual releasing of the lantern doesn’t happen until 9 pm, so patrons are encouraged to bring blankets/chairs and enjoy the live music with their family and friends. You can bring outside food and beverage, so I would highly recommend bringing your own cooler if you decide to attend the event.
I purchased the early bird ticket, which was $35. It included the parking fee, a lantern, and a marker. I went with my friend Natasha who's a photographer and the pictures in this post are courtesy of her.
Unfortunately, there was a lot of con’s pertaining the event and the root cause is the lack of organization: Firstly, they encourage you to carpool, but regardless if you’re driving or not you still have to pay for parking with your ticket. Secondly, when you purchase your ticket you’re assigned an arrival time, which one would think would alleviate traffic. Wrong! It literally took us an hour to turn onto the street where the venue is located. Thirdly, there were roughly 6 food trucks available at the event. The venue is huge, so there was a large number of people there and the food trucks didn’t balance out with the volume of people trying to purchase food, which caused the lines to be ridiculously long.
Although there is room for improvement regarding the organization of the event I’m definitely happy I attended. As the day got increasingly darker the clouds started to look like mountains, which created the perfect backdrop. Fast forwarding to the moment we got to release the lanterns they started playing the song Halleluiah, which set the mood and helped created the magical/spiritual moment. Once all the lanterns were released I can honestly say that all the negative aspect of the day was worth it. Everyone was enthralled in the moment and it created a moment of solidarity among a sea of strangers.
I highly recommend attending at least once because the experience is so unique. I am all for experiencing new things and I’m happy that I got to check this off my bucket list.