The Lantern Fest Experience

A lthough I have been to 15 countries and swam with dolphins, sometimes it's nice to explore your own backyard and try something you've never done before.  I recently came across the organization The Lantern Fest when one of my friends attended their festival.  The Lantern Fest is where thousands of people join together with lanterns and release them all at once.  There is music, dancing and s'mores.  Seeing the pictures and the videos took my breath away.  What a cool experience.  If you thought the scene in Disney's Tangled was beautiful and magical, just wait until you experience it in real life for yourself! Luckily, I found that they were holding a Lantern Fest in Eureka, Missouri, which is only an hour and a half away from me.  At the Lantern Fest you pay $30 to get a wristband for entry,  a lantern, and a small gift that includes a marker, lighter, and some yummy s’more supplies.  Some people might think $30 is pretty high for that, but I never feel like I waste money on an experience.  I persuaded my best friend, Alex, to go with me to the Lantern Fest.  We got there about an hour before the scheduled release of the lanterns to get a seat on the grounds.  While waiting they had live music and different vendors that offered snacks while you're waiting.  Also, while we were waiting for the sun to go down, we decorated our lanterns.  Tradition says you are supposed to write your hopes/dreams on your lantern so you can fill the sky with them.  I wrote 3 dreams I hope to come true. 1) to successfully finish nursing school 2) to find "the one" (cliché I know), and 3) to one day be called mommy.  The time came to start lighting our lanterns.  3, 2, 1! All 7,000 (yes, I said 7,000) released our floating lanterns into the night sky as they played the song from Tangled! It was a magical experience seeing all the night sky lit up at once.  I felt like I was in a Disney movie and not just because they were playing the song from Tangled.  $30 for entry and a lantern, but also chance to participate in such a magical, surreal experience with my best friend was worth it! I recommend everyone participating in a Lantern Fest at least once.  Sometimes you'll be surprised at what you can find in your own backyard.