The Candor

The Lights Festival for Chicago

Lubna Ziauddin

Staff Writer

On Saturday September 30, the Lights Festival for Chicago lit up the town. The Lights Festival for Chicago was held in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. Since it is illegal in the state of Illinois to light up lanterns for various fire hazards the festival had to be held in Wisconsin. Not to worry however, the drive is only 20 minutes past the state line, totaling for about an hour and a half drive from the Benedictine campus.

Guests launch lanterns into the sky at Lights Festival for Chicago. Photo Credit: Sameen Khurshid

The parking ticket states that you have to arrive around 3:30 P.M., even though the event didn’t start until 6 P.M.. The main parking lot had already been filled and they were starting to double-park cars in the surrounding fields. Within 20 minutes, the road to enter the grounds were backing up pretty far down the road. Those in charge of parking did not actually check tickets to see if you had arrive on time, so even if your ticket says to come at a later time, come as early as possible just to secure a good parking spot.

In checking in to the event, patrons receive a little bag that contained a marker, a sticker, and a small light key chain along with their lantern. The marker was intended to be used during the festival to draw/write on the lanterns, since the event was catered towards launching the lanterns in memory of a loved one. The festival was held in a large grass field. Since there were no actual seating arrangements, festival guests had to bring blankets and chairs to sit on.

After sundown and a few test launches, the official OK from the local fire department was given and there was a demonstration on how to light up the lanterns. Then the countdown began.

Lanterns released into the sky to finish the Lights Festival for Chicago. Photo Credit: Afrah Ali

All at once hundreds of lanterns were launched in the sky. While all the lanterns were launched the festival had Hallelujah playing, totally fitting the ambiance of the festival. It was  such an amazing experience to see so many lanterns floating up to the sky.

If this is something you’re interested in attending, the Lights Festival Chicago is coming back on October 21 (tickets are on sale now), and in June of 2018.