- story by Lisa Monti
Picture your family and friends gathering in a field on a Saturday evening in December, listening to live music and enjoying tasty food truck fare. Then imagine the spectacular sight of everyone lighting personalized sky lanterns and letting them take flight in a choreographed release into the winter sky.
Mark your calendars.
The Lights Fest is coming to the Hancock County Fair Grounds on Dec. 2 as part of a series of events all around the country. All are produced by Viive Events, a for-profit company “dedicated to making a lasting impact in each community we visit.”
Talk of the Town
Kevin Ladner, Hancock County’s recreation director, said the local site was selection for a couple of reasons. “They picked the fairground because we had a wide open space - about 80 acres - and we could handle the crowd they’re expecting, 5,000 to 8,000 people.”
Location was another reason, he said. “They are going to target New Orleans and Mobile, and we’re within an hour or so” of both cities.
Ladner said the wind direction on the day of the event will dictate where the lanterns will be lit and released safely.
Tickets sold online start at $35 and move up to $55 as the date of the event nears. Kids 3 or younger get in free; ages 4 to 12 pay $8.
For the price of admission and a signed waiver, you’ll get a sky lantern, a flashlight, keychain and marker to personalize your lantern.
Brings chairs or a blanket and find a place near one of the Tiki torches used to set the lanterns ablaze. Around twilight, the live entertainment and kid friendly activities begin.
Depending on wind conditions and when local fire officials give the word, you’ll get instructions on how to prepare and launch your lanterns. Organizers say they have “made safety the cornerstone of our business practice.”
Alcohol isn’t permitted and neither or pets.
For more information, or to volunteer or be a vendor, go to the Lights Fest website.