I’ve mentioned many times before how I have a personal bucket list of things I want to do whether that be within the next few months or the next few years. In my most recent blog, I stated that it’s a goal of mine to check off as much as I can this summer. One of those items that’s been on my list is The Lights Fest.
As soon as I heard about The Lights Fest, I knew I had to go. My mind immediately went to the renowned scene from Tangled where Rapunzel and Eugene sing “I See the Light” (feel free to relive the magic by watching the scene here). When tickets went on sale this fall, I took it as a sign from the universe that the date of the location closest to me happened to be the night before my birthday.
Tickets are sold on a first-come-first-serve basis with the first people in line to buy them getting the most inexpensive deal. While tickets are advertised to start at $25, the cheapest tickets go incredibly fast. I was waiting on my laptop until the very minute they went on sale and still was unable to get the lowest price level (though this is likely because Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York were all fighting for the same tickets). I was able to snag tickets for $30 each, but after taxes and processing fees they came to about $37 per person. Each ticket includes one lantern.
Parking opened and check-in started at 4:30 p.m. Originally, it had been scheduled to rain around 6 p.m. so I wanted to wait until it was a little closer to drive all the way down there (the event took place at Plantation Field). This ended up being the perfect time to get there because there isn’t much too do besides sit and wait for the sun to set.
The festival allows you to bring your own food, so we brought a cooler with salad, snacks and waters along with a large blanket to lay out on the grass. Soon after we arrived, an Ed Sheeran-esque singer started performing. He was actually incredibly good and sang for the majority of the time we were waiting.
Word of advice: there are plenty of tiki torches throughout the field to light your lantern, but aim to sit near one so you don’t have to travel far from your stuff or wait long in line. We ended up relocating around 8:30 p.m. when it got closer to lighting the lanterns.
We got the OK to light our lanterns around 9:30 p.m. While there was a demonstration, it would have been useful to have a louder sound system and some volunteers throughout the audience by each tiki torch to assist when needed.
Lighting the lanterns was way more challenging than expected and potentially very dangerous so I’m surprised they weren’t more organized with it. In retrospect I would’ve purchased a few extra lanterns so there’s room for error in perfecting the lighting. My brother was selfless and let my friend and I use his lantern so we could have a second go at it.
Regardless of the difficulties, the sight was unbelievably magical. It’s one of those moments I feel like you have to experience at least once in your life.
An issue with this event was the parking. Of course everyone wanted to leave at the same time and there were hundreds of cars, but there was absolutely no organization. We got to my car at 10 p.m. and finally left the parking lot by 12 p.m. because we were in a standstill. It was a mess (I had the pleasure of turning 22 in the car).
Overall, I would do it again if I were able to find a location closer to my home (the closest one was two and a half hours way), get there right when the gates open and purchase some extra lanterns. If you’re wondering if you should go, I highly recommend you do (while keeping in mind what I’ve mentioned above) because at the end of the day there truly is no other word for this event besides magical.