The Water Lantern Festival is an event that the whole family can enjoy. Friends, families, neighbors and many individuals got together at the waterfront at Snake River Landing on June 17, 2023.

People designing their lanterns. Photo credit: Chester Chan.
People designing their lanterns. Photo credit: Chester Chan.

People decorated their lanterns and placed them in the river. After the event, all lanterns were cleaned up. Trash that may have previously been in or near the water is also picked up. The LED candles are recycled and reused. The lanterns were built from wood and rice paper to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

Jonah Wasden, the event coordinator, explained that the big goal for the event was to get people into the mind-space of what to be thankful for and what to let go.

“It is an event for people to feel good,” Wasden said. “This is a feel-good event. Everybody needs hope. It’s a good vibe.” 

Wasden also explained that they had local performers to play acoustic music and local food trucks that the company wanted to support.

“It just tries to support the local community and roots and everything,” Wasden said.

There were food trucks and booths for local businesses. There was also a stage for people who wanted to share their stories behind their lanterns — about people they missed and their new goals for life.

The company aims to bring joy, happiness and light to people. 

“Our job is to create a fun outdoor evening for people to come out, connect with others and enjoy life,” said Logan Buchanan, one of the Water Lantern Festival’s staff.

One event was called lantern stories. People had the opportunity to go up to the stage and share why they were there.

“It’s always touching and heartwarming when people go up there remembering passed loved ones or sharing stories of friendship or relationships,” Buchanan said. “I always think one of the coolest parts of the event is hearing people’s stories.”

This event takes place not just in Idaho but all around the country. 

“We usually have four to five events per weekend. Multiple event coordinators will go out and do them.” Wasden said.

The company has hundreds of events nationwide in the summer. The festival will return to Idaho Falls next year. Boise will feature the Water Lantern Festival on August 19.