Mojave Desert sky lights up with lanterns

Tens of thousands of lanterns carry messages, hopes and dreams into the desert night sky in Mojave, Nevada, Saturday, Oct. 18, at the first U.S. RiSe Lantern Festival. Alumnus Kyle Deeley ('10), was in attendance and shared his photos and experiences with us.

Photo by Kyle Deeley

Tens of thousands of lanterns carry messages, hopes and dreams into the desert night sky in Mojave, Nevada, Saturday, Oct. 18, at the first U.S. RiSe Lantern Festival. Alumnus Kyle Deeley ('10), was in attendance and shared his photos and experiences with us.

from RiSE organization Vimeo collection

MOJAVE–Happiness, life celebration, joy, dreams and hopes — this is the recipe for a first-time annual outdoor event called RiSE. The 2014 RiSE festival was held this past Saturday, October 18, in the Mojave Desert in Nevada.

This festival is a time for people to come together, including alumnus Kyle Deeley (ʻ10), currently a photographer and videographer. The former Ka Leo o Nā Koa editor shared the experience with us.

“The event was truly spectacular,” he said.

According to the official RiSE website, The symbolic meaning behind each of the lanterns is that each one represents a new hope, faith, wish, or goal.

Once all the lanterns come together, they make a display that’s supposed to represent the different lives of the people.

“Attendees would write their hopes, dreams, or fears on the lanterns and send them off into the sky,” Deeley said.

The evening started at about 3:45 p.m. when people gathered at area hotels in Las Vegas and surrounding cities to board shuttles to the remote desert location.

Once there, participants walked about a mile to reach the lantern launching location, and after some confusion, everyone eventually received their event swag: lanterns, markers, and two yoga mats.

People personalized their lanterns with the markers and enjoyed eating and a live performance by Joshua James.

Everyone, about 10,000 people, launched their lanterns in unison at about 8:30. After that, they launched more lanterns at an individual rate until about 20,000 filled the sky. It took 2-4 people to light and fly each lantern.

“It was really moving to see the lanterns dance with each other amongst the stars,” Deeley said.

All participants received two lanterns as part of their entrance fee, and additional lanterns were available for sale at the event.

This was the first time for the event anywhere outside of Bali, Indonesia, and it was really a success, almost overly so.

Deeley said that at the end of the night, the shuttles became overwhelmed, and people, although miles from Baker, the nearest town, began to walk out to the highway.

Click here to read a first-hand account of the experience in the Las Vegas Sun.

Despite other technical difficulties, like starting late, dark trails, and temporarily missing lanterns, Deeley said that the scene was not only uplifting, but also romantic.

“The whole evening reminded me of the scene in the Disney movie Tangled, where the two main characters realize that they love each other at a festival of floating lanterns set out over an enormous lake,” he said. “ The event was incredibly romantic, and the host told us that they’d had 5 people ask if they could be married under the lanterns and at least 12 proposals were planned.”

If you find yourself in the Las Vegas area next October, Deeley recommends this as a don’t miss event.

“I hope that the event happens again next year. Iʻd love to go back,” he said.