Last night, a large group of us headed out to Pacific Junction, Iowa for the Latern Fest. It was quite the experience, which is exactly why I wanted to go! My daughter said from the promotional video that it looked like Rapunzel’s birthday, and anyone who has watched Disney’s Tangled can totally relate!
I purchased tickets for my mom, my daughter, and myself a while back. Tickets were $15 for adults and $5 for children. The $15 for adults included a kit to make four smores, a lighter, a lantern, and a marker. Children did not recieve anything other than their own mini flashlight, which I thought weird since they should have at least gotten some smores! Later we realized we would have company in town, who also wanted to attend, so ended up paying $25/ticket for them because the early bird special had ended. Tickets the day of the event were supposedly $50/each. Children three and under were free of charge.
Parking was $5/a car, but they were very accomodating considering I had a family member that needed handicap consideration. They were able to give us a spot closer which was appreciated. They told us where to head, and everyone was very helpful in directing us where we needed to be. We had brought a cooler with drinks and food, which I was extremely relieved about when we saw the line for food at the concessions!
We grabbed a spot near the front by the stage, though we were unable to snag our own firepit. Everyone was sharing them though so that wasn’t an issue. I will say that the planning for the smores kit was a fail. The candy bars were completely melted to where I had to basically smear the chocolate onto the cracker, and the marshmallows we received were pretty hard and didn’t soften up well in the fire. So there was that.
However, as we waited for it to get dark, there was plenty of entertainment. Susie Brown performed, there were firedancers, and there was even Rapunzel the princess walking around taking photos with the kids. Firefighters on standby were letting kids check out the trucks, inside and out. They also had face painting and a bounce house for kiddos.
At about 9:00, they demonstrated on the stage how to light the lanterns. It was definitely a team effort–lighting one yourself was just not gonna happen! Everyone got their lanterns ready and the release was beautiful! I was in awe at the scene–definitely something to see in person! My videos and photos do NOT do this event justice. We sent up lanterns with messages to our loved ones, so it was memorable and symbolic for all of us.
All in all, the event was very well organized and was definitely worth the money for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Everyone who came had a good time, even with the smores fail! Would highly recommend this event for families if it comes back into the Omaha area again!