After a tiring work week, James and I went on a last minute trip to Mesquite for The Lights Fest. It’s the lesser known counterpart to Rise Festival, another lantern festival that takes place in Las Vegas. I’ve always wanted to go to Rise but the ticket prices have deterred me from attending. $129 for a regular ticket + $29 parking pass or $39 shuttle pass? It’s a bit steep if you ask me. What I like about The Lights Fest is their reasonable ticket prices. If you buy your ticket early, you can get it for as low as $25. We purchased our tickets last minute (5 hours before the event) and got ours for only $55 each. Not bad right?
The Lights Fest? What’s that?
“The Lights Fest is an experience where thousands of friends and families gather to listen to live music, fill up on food trucks and light up life by sharing personal wishes, dreams and goals. At the perfect moment, everyone ignites their personalized sky lanterns with Tiki torches and lets them take flight. It creates a surreal ambiance, where time slows down and your single flame rises and joins with thousands of others to Light the Sky.”
Although they are a for-profit organization, they also partner with non-profits and charities in every community they visit. They selected the Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada as their charity of choice that day.
What to Bring?
- Food and Drinks (Alcohol not permitted) – Although there are food trucks inside the venue, I recommend bringing your own food and drinks. Their website says otherwise but I saw a lot of families who brought their own coolers inside the venue. Plus the lines were so long and from what I overheard, it took 1 hour for the orders to be taken and another hour or two to get the food. Either that or you can just eat beforehand.
- Collapsible Chairs – Get comfortable. You’ll be spending a few hours waiting for the lantern launch.
- Blankets and warm clothing– Stay warm! It gets pretty chilly at night.
- Stuff to keep you busy – There’s some live music and entertainment but we brought some playing cards just to help pass the time.
- Camera – To capture that once in a lifetime moment when hundreds of lanterns light up the sky.
From Las Vegas, it took us about 1 hour and 30 minutes to get to the location. I like that they had parking available inside the venue. It did take some time to get in and out of the parking lot but overall, it wasn’t too bad. It was actually somewhat organized. We made our way to the check-in tents where they gave us each a lantern and a swag bag (containing a marker, sticker and keychain flashlight) and instructed us to find a spot near any tiki torch on the field. Since it’s first come first serve, we only managed to snag a spot towards the back of the field. It wasn’t too bad though. I just wish they had set up more tiki torches for everyone.
How to light your lantern
Lighting your lantern can be very tricky. Here’s some tips to help you:
- Hold your lantern above the torch.
- Light the ends of the block that’s at the bottom of your lantern. Ask someone to help you out. Its better with 2-3 people.
- Keep the lantern above the torch for 2-3 minutes. Have the other person hold the top of the lantern while you hold the bottom to prevent it from burning.
- Release the lantern, take photos and enjoy!
To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought it was just one of those random events where you can have unique photo ops. But I was wrong. That surreal moment when hundreds of lanterns lit up the sky made me teary eyed. I can’t really explain the feeling. You guys just have to see it for yourself because it’s a view worth seeing in person.
Pros and Cons:
- Ticket affordability and availability
- They have more events in different states compared to other festivals
- They practice the “Leave No Trace” policy. Their lanterns are 100% biodegradable with limited burn time and flame retardant. They have a cleanup crew that picks up the lanterns after the event
- Food truck lines were loooong
- There’s not enough tiki torches
- No assigned seating sections
Have you been to a lights festival? How was your experience?
Let me know in the comment section below.
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