One of the recent additions to my Bucket List was to attend a lantern festival. The last two times one was being held within a reasonable drive from me, I had weddings booked. When I found out another lantern fest was being planned for June 10th, just 15 minutes from my house, I immediately snatched up tickets and blocked out the date on my calendar! It's a good thing I did, because this one sold out within a few weeks. It was so popular that the organizers ended up adding a second day! (I would have gone both days, but my studio open house was scheduled to take place the following day.)
I'm not a fan of crowds, but crowds can't be avoided at lantern festivals. So, if you go, be prepared to wait... a lot... However, I have to admit, the more crowded they are, the more amazing the lantern display looks! I did, however, manage to sneak away from the crowd and score a perfect viewing spot in the bleachers along Maple Grove Raceway. My plan was to capture a few photos from that vantage point, then join the crowd below to set off my lanterns. Once the lanterns started being released, however, that plan went to pieces. My view from the bleachers was so amazing that I just couldn't bring myself to leave. I am definitely going to attend another one in the future, so I'll be sure to capture some photos from the ground-level vantage point when I go back.
If you decide to go to one of these, plan to arrive early to find a close parking spot. When you enter, you'll be given a lantern, a marshmallow roasting stick, and a goodie box (containing s'mores supplies, a lighter, and a sharpie for decorating your lantern). There are food and drink stands for all ages, live music, face-painting, balloon-animal artists, and inflatable rides for the kids. Again, be prepared to wait - a lot - but in the end, the wait will be worth it!!! And this is coming from someone who detests crowds!!
My pictures just don't do this experience justice, but I hope you enjoy them anyway. I'm so glad that I was able to attend. The view was breathtaking, and being there with my family was the icing on the cake. If you ever have a chance to go, I highly recommend it.