Lantern Festival

Locations nationwide, I attended near Pittsburgh, PA 

If you have ever seen the movie “Tangled” then you know all about the lantern scene where Rapunzel and Flynn watch the release of paper lanterns and sing “I See the Light” in the typical but romantic Disney-way. Lantern Fest is a festival that brings that famous scene to life. Personally, I am a huge Disney fan and Tangled is my favorite animated movie, so this was my second year attending the festival.

I purchased my tickets and waited not-so-patiently for the day to arrive where I could yet again live out my dream of being a Disney princess. On the day of the event, the weather was perfect! It was sunny and very warm. They held the event at the Pennsylvania Motor Speedway. As we walked towards the entrance, we could see the venue filled with 5,000 attendees, many food trucks and excited guests playing field games.

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When we checked in, they gave us our lanterns and boxes of s’more fixings, a lighter and sharpie. We carried in our chairs, blankets, coolers and lanterns and found an unoccupied fire pit to set up by. The venue had plenty of food, activities for kids, face-painting, a main stage and even an appearance by Rapunzel and Elsa! The day consisted of lawn games, hula hooping, making new friends and competing in various contests.

When the sun began to set, everyone gathered around the fire pits, lit the many tiki torches and listened to live music from the main stage. It was truly beautiful just watching the crowds gathered around their fires, making s’mores, laughing and chatting while enjoying the acoustic tunes.

After the live music, it was finally dark enough for the lantern release! The festival organizers first explained how to release the lanterns. Everyone then counted down so the lanterns could be released at the same time. Throughout the day, everyone was encouraged to write on their lantern their wishes, prayers, dreams or just draw whatever they wanted to be lifted into the sky. As the lanterns began to ascend, there was a moment of silence and as you gazed up into the fire-lit sky; it was truly breathtaking. After a few minutes, they began to play “I See the Light” from Tangled and it was really as if you were in a magical Disney movie. Even pictures cannot capture the beauty of this event, it is something you just have to see for yourself.

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Helpful Tips:

  • Make sure to purchase your tickets early for the event. Do not wait since the ticket prices increase every two weeks. (we bought a Groupon for the event, which drastically reduced the price)
  • Bring other fun things to do at the festival like a frisbee, cornhole, board games, etc. The festival started at 4 but we could not release the lanterns until it was dark.
  • Bring food and drinks unless you want to buy food there
  • Don’t get your lantern wet! The lanterns are made out of rice paper, so if it is wet it won’t fly.
  • Be sure to take in the beauty of what is happening. You’ll want to take a ton of pictures and videos but make sure to take time to experience the event.