I know this post is a long time coming, having been almost a year ago, but I thought it would be nice to jot down the memories anyways. For memories sake. Once word released that a lantern festival was coming to the United States, let alone taking place in Vegas’ backyard, I knew I had to be there.
On the day of the festival, Ron and I headed to Mandalay Bay Hotel to catch a shuttle that would take us to the location. Judging by the lines just for the shuttles, I knew the festival was going to be big and busy! It was about a 30 minute bus ride to a dry lakebed located in Jean, Nevada. And let me tell you! The Mojave Desert is a beautiful thing. It may just be dirt and dust but I’ve never seen a dry lakebed in person, nor have I even had the chance to stand on one!
Tiki torches were set up as far as eye could see. Each torch were equipped with RiSE Festival yoga mats, itineraries that doubled as memory cards, pens, and of course the lanterns. Based on the itinerary, we had another 2 hours before the first release of lanterns so we chose our spot and settled in. We picked one of the outer torches for photo and video purposes.
With the sun setting and live acoustic music by Joshua James, it was the perfect backdrop. There’s just something about the combination of being outdoors, the sunset, and music that made it very relaxing.
The countdown for the first release was scheduled at 730pm. Ron and I decided to sit out because we wanted to experience it without worrying about releasing our own lantern. And I’m glad we did! Seeing the lanterns release in unison was such a gorgeous sight that I got really emotional. I’m in love with the lantern scene from the movie Tangled but seeing this live and in person was a million times better! Till this day, I still consider that exact moment to be one of my favorite experiences. I’m really glad we got it on video so I could relive that moment, repeatedly.
After the initial release, we were allowed to send up the rest of our lanterns as we pleased. There were just layers and layers of these gorgeous lanterns that lit up the night sky.
Although it was a perfect event, the end of the night wasn’t so great. The shuttle system was so unorganized that close to 10,000 attendees waited 5hrs+ in freezing temperatures. People were making bonfires just to keep warm. The event was scheduled to end at 10pm but Ron and I didn’t make it home till 4am.
But regardless, I was completely overwhelmed with emotions both good and bad. And although the end of the night overshadowed the event, I’m blessed to have been able to cross something off my bucketlist. Just for the experience, I’d do it all over again.