Summer is right around the corner and there is no better time of year to bond with your local community than outside under a scorching sun — or via glowing water lanterns.
1000 Lights Water Lantern Festival takes full advantage of this and is touring nationally throughout the summer to bring a unique one-night-only gathering of love, light and community to cities like Long Beach, California, Philadelphia and Cincinnati.
On its face, the experience seems almost too simple: hundreds of Cincinnatians will gather in Eden Park to cast self-decorated lanterns onto a body of water (the event doesn't specify whether it's Mirror Lake or Twin Lakes). But the surrounding festivities and an emphasis on community engagement promise to introduce the necessary element of spirituality.
Eastern cultures have been performing similar water lantern rituals for centuries. Originating from a traditional Buddhist and Taoist “Ghost Festival,” communities across Asia would set countless lanterns down a river to help guide lost ghosts and spirits to the festival meant to honor them.
The Queen City will be transported back to the time of the emperors on June 1 when 1000 Lights Water Lantern Festival sets up for a full night of entertainment in Eden Park.
Every ticket comes with a complimentary lantern and decoration kit and extra lanterns can be purchased for $10 a pop.
1000 Lights Water Lantern Festival preaches mindful sustainability, so their lanterns are 100-percent biodegradable and only made from bamboo and rice paper. Their staff also make sure to recover every last lantern floating on the water so even the most eco-conscious festivalgoer can indulge their floating lantern reveries guilt free.
Festival staff also try to reuse lanterns and decorating materials as much as possible, so it is highly likely your creation has been a part of someone else’s before you, and will become a part of someone else’s after you.
The event begins at 6 p.m., but lanterns will not be cast onto the water until 9 p.m., giving everyone ample time to personally connect with their fellow lantern decorators and hit up various food trucks, live entertainment and games like high-stakes bingo while they wait for a beautiful orange and violet sunset to provide the perfect backdrop for their lanterns leaving port.
6-10 p.m. June 1. $25 adult; $35 VIP; $13 ages 9-13; free under 9. Eden Park, 950 Eden Park Drive. More info at 1000lights.com/cincinnati.
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