The windy and 50-degree weather didn’t stop family and friends from releasing water lanterns decorated with messages of peace and love at the 1000 Lights lantern festival.
Rigby Lake hosted the 1000 Lights festival on Saturday night. Their mission, according to their website is to “help people to connect with their hopes, dreams, and loved ones, past and present.”
The 1000 Lights group travels all over the country releasing their floating lanterns. They were previously in Philadelphia and Cincinnati and have future events planned in California and Washington.
Before the lantern launch, BYU-Idaho students and families played high-stakes bingo, cornhole and volleyball while kids enjoyed jumping in bouncy houses. Food vendors were available, selling corn dogs and kettle corn. People sported flower crowns and a girl wore a Rapunzel dress from “Tangled.”
Photos by Natalie Elowitt | Scroll Photography
Reagan Shepard, the festival coordinator, was pleased by the turnout at an event that is usually dominated by families.
“It’s been a lot better than we anticipated,” said Shepard. “It’s so fun to see the community come in and support a cause like this. It’s really nice to have that college kind of feel.”
Due to windy conditions, festival coordinators changed the original location of the lantern launch.
“The only thing we wish is the wind could blow the other direction, instead of into the shore,” said Zach Wertz, an event creative, “but, unfortunately, we can’t really control the wind.”
Erik Dalton, the event emcee from Utah State University, became roommates with some of the festival founders in his freshman year of college. At the events, he would DJ while periodically performing his original music.
“It honestly surprises me how amazed I am at how beautiful the event is and how peaceful it is,” Dalton said. “Some people come because they are celebrating successes and hopes, and other people maybe are honoring loved ones who are passed on. It’s really neat just to observe that and see what people write on their lanterns and watch them set them out into the water.”
Several couples wrote their wedding date on their lantern while others wrote blessings in their life.
When the sun set around 9:30 p.m., people lined up along the shore and released their lanterns on Rigby Lake. Lanterns caught on the short line by rocks or sand were helped along by nearby people. A crowd formed at the other side of the lake where the lanterns gathered.
“I love just how emotional this festival has been,” said Andrew Chiek, a sophomore studying exercise physiology. “Seeing emotion from people that came out here for their families that passed away, or all their dreams and goals. It’s just a good atmosphere to be around. The music really hits you.”
Chiek paid tribute to the Rexburg temple and Christ while decorating his lantern.
“I put JOY,” Chiek said. “Which stands for Jesus, others and yourself, and I drew a picture of the Rexburg temple because without Christ and His atonement nothing would be made possible.”