Last weekend, we set off on an adventure to Willows in Northern California to attend the Lights Fest. I have always wanted to see the sky filled with thousands of lanterns ever since I first heard of similar events in Thailand and far flung places. When I heard the Lights Fest were touring America, I found the nearest event and bought tickets as soon as they were released.
It was a three hour drive to the event location which was a massive racecourse track which had a large open area with beautiful views of country mountains and green fields for miles. The event opened at 3pm as there was live music and food trucks throughout the day prior to the lighting of the lanterns. We were provided with lots of details prior to the event - blankets, chairs and picnics were all encouraged. All ages were at the event with many families and groups of friends gathering for the event. We arrived about 5.30pm and enjoyed the music, sunshine and views. The sun was beaming down and there was little wind, so it was the perfect day. On entry to the venue, we were all given a lantern, a wristband and a pen. Using the pen, you could write your wishes, dreams, goals on your lantern which follows the theme of the event #whatlightsyou. As the sun went down, torches were lit around the event area which set the scene for the beauty that was to come.
After the hours of live music, a dj came on while the sun set. After darkness fell, the torches glowed bright and it was time to light the lanterns. Memories, positive thoughts or wishes had been written upon the lanterns. We waited for others to light their lanterns first, so we could enjoy the moment seeing all the lanterns rise in the air at once. I will never forget that moment that thousands of lanterns were floating up and lighting up the sky. “Hallelujah” played softly in the background. That moment was as magical as I thought it would be. We lit our lanterns and watched them float into the air and join the others to light the sky.
The Lights Fest are touring all over America over the next few months and there is also a date in Ireland in August. Click here to see upcoming dates. I would highly recommend the event as it is a memory and a day that will stay with me. Tickets sell out fast so make sure you get them on the day that they go on sale. Tickets for the California event began at $35 and went up to $65 depending on when you bought your ticket.
I would bring lots of snacks, water and some comfortable chairs or blankets to enjoy the event before the sun sets. No alcohol is allowed to the event and I completely understand why after seeing some people light their lanterns without alcohol involved! I would also bring some patience for getting out of the venue after. It took a while to get out of the car park/parking lot after as there were so many people trying to exit at once.
Overall, a magical happy experience that I would go to tomorrow again if I could!