I had been to the Lantern Fest only once before – it was sometime last fall with my friend/fellow HC writer Britt. We were invited to write an article about the event and I remember the experience as hushed and tranquil; I remember that we took time to reflect and watch the lanterns bob in the breeze and eventually disappear, like little ignited letters to the universe. The soft music, the crisp September breeze, and the blazing paper lanterns slipping from our hands into the darkness; it felt otherworldly, like I was the star of some animated princess movie who had found her happy ending.
So, naturally, when I saw that there was an opportunity to attend the event again with my boyfriend, I jumped on it. I figured it would be the perfect date – some s’mores, live acoustic covers of John Mayer covers, free press passes, all that jazz.
I knew that this Lantern Fest would be a different vibe simply due to the fact that we almost didn’t go – but thunderstorm warnings and drizzly, windy forecasts didn’t stop us from driving forty minutes out to Clio, Michigan with a couple of blankets and high expectations.
What we didn’t expect was how messy, spontaneous, and straight up goofy our night would be. We didn’t sit quietly and watch the sparkling paper lanterns hover in the sky like I had in the fall – to be honest, we couldn’t even get our lanterns to catch fire. But we did laugh when a blazing lantern hit me in the face, the kind of laughing that makes your stomach hurt, the kind that doesn’t make any sound at all. We did race after abandoned lanterns that never made it past the ground and attempted to launch them to no avail, we did get melted marshmallows all over our chins and we didn’t care. It was perfectly imperfect, the kind of night that went wrong in the best way possible.
I would recommend the Lantern Fest to those looking for an unforgettable night, just be sure to bring a few blankets to sit on and your favorite people to sit with – because this special event isn’t made special by the Instagrammable lanterns or the deeper meaning behind the launch; it is made special by the people with whom you share it. It is made special by seeing the faces of those you love light up with a glow that probably didn’t come from any lantern.
Want to go to a lantern festival in Michigan? Click here.
Images courtesy of: David Pohl