Lighting Up the Sky
Talk of the Town - October 2017
A new kind of festival in December promises to light up the night at the Hancock County Fairgrounds.
- story by Lisa Monti
According to the producers, the Lights Fests have been described by participants as nothing short of magical that create “a surreal ambiance and memories of a lifetime.” Tour dates this year include Denver, Chicago, Toronto, Atlanta, Winnipeg, Phoenix/Tucson and Atlanta. Our local event is the last of the year.
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.
“It can’t be too windy to carry the lanterns on someone else’s property,” Lander said. “We want to keep the lanterns on Hancock County’s property.”
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.
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