Lanterns in the Sky…

Our daughter, Jerie, loves the movie Tangled.  In the movie, there is a scene, where hundreds of lit paper lanterns are released into the sky, floating gently skyward. With that in mind, we heard about the Fall Lantern Fest in Salt Lake City and since it was to be held on Jerie’s birthday, we thought it would make a great birthday celebration.  The tickets were over $100.00 a piece so we dragged our feet, thinking that was abit pricey.  Our waiting paid off, as the tickets went on sale and we were able to get them for $35.00 each.  After attending, we learned a lot and will be giving our Lantern Fest advice at the end, but first the highlights and pictures.

The wind conditions have to be just right to launch over 6000 flaming lanterns into the sky.  Two days before the event, we were notified that due to predicted high wind conditions the festival had been postponed for two weeks.  That was a bit disappointing, but we rescheduled our hotel reservation and rearranged our schedule.  So as the weekend approached and we did not receive any weather alerts, our excitement grew.  We left early on Saturday morning and with it being Jerie’s belated birthday celebration week-end, we stopped at Maddox in Brigham City for lunch.  This is a great place to eat, but the wait can be over 2 hours.  We were earlier enough that we were seated right away. When we asked Chris, Jerie’s husband, to take a picture, he thought he was being funny, by taking his own picture.


We checked into our hotel and then headed to Tooele which is west of Salt Lake City. The festival was located at the Miller Motorsports facility.  It didn’t take us long to park, which cost $10.00, but the parking was quite a distance from the festival venue.


We received our wrist bands which we showed to obtain our Lantern Fest bag. Your wristband was not for admission, but to receive your supplies.  Anyone could have come to the festival as no one was at the admission gate. They just would not have received a bag.  Each bag contained a lantern, matches, a stick, marker, and ingredients for smores.


We were warned ahead of time, to arrive earlier or you would not be able to get a fire pit.  We thought we were early enough, but all the fire pits were taken. So we found a place to sit between the fire pits.


Then Chris had an idea to use technology to create our own fire.  We were game…lol


As the sun went down we lit the nearby tiki torch, which would be used to help light our lanterns. We then bundled up and got ready for the 2 hour wait.


Without a fire, we passed the time eating, what Jade called Sushi Smores…


So in the dark, we decided to use our technology and played several games.


There was entertainment of singers as well as fire dancers.


As the lantern launch drew near, we got out the markers provided in the bag.  They were to be used to send messages with your lantern and we had lots of messages.


The lanterns are made of thin paper and they need to be gently unfolded.


There is a cardboard square that you light.


The lantern is then placed near the ground to fill with hot air.


The lantern countdown was started and the lanterns were released…


Well that is supposed to be how it works…a breeze came up just as everyone was lighting their lanterns. We were on the outer edge of the festival, so it made it difficult to keep your lantern full of the hot air with the wind blowing.  We had low flying flaming lanterns flying around us.  We now know why we had to sign an injury release before picking up our festival bags. Jade finally got his lantern full inflated and let it go.  It flew low to the ground, and rose just enough to make it over the crowd but didn’t make it over the grandstand.  For a minute we thought it might catch the grandstand on fire (not a good thing to have writing on your lantern so you can be identified).


Thank heavens the wind blew out his lantern flame.  Okay, so we didn’t get the surreal moment we were hoping for but we did get lots of excitement in a short period of time.  We never did get our lanterns to float, but here are a few suggestions.

  1.  Bring your own lighter  2.  You don’t need a fire pit  3.  It takes a while to get your lantern full of hot air, so start as soon as they tell you to  4.  Go with the flow.  5. Depending on weather bring warm clothes and lots of blankets 6.  If you are staying the night, bring extra clothes as your festival clothes will smell 7. Bring flashlights  9. Bring snacks and your own water.  The food lines were very long  9. It may not work out like you wanted, but make the experience memorable.

With Jerie abit dejected that her lantern didn’t light the night sky, you do the next best thing….eat.  One of our favorite spots in SLC is Hires Big H.  They serve the best root beer and burgers!!!


We got up early the next morning and went to the Choir at Temple Square (formerly known as the Mormon Tabernacle choir).  On Sunday mornings they perform the live radio broadcast known as the Spoken Word.


It was a great way to end Jerie’s birthday celebration.  Most of the time, the things that we plan do not happen like we thought they would.  No matter what, the most important thing is that you Build A Memory.