By DOUGLAS W. MOTLEY – Senior Writer
For the fifth time in the past six years – having been canceled in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic – the Inland Empire Water Lantern Festival is slated to visit Crestline’s Lake Gregory on Saturday and Sunday, May 20 and May 21.
According to the event coordinator, more than 3,000 participants and fans from throughout Southern California will be assembling on Lake Gregory’s north shore beach to share in a truly unique event featuring food, music, yoga, deep breathing and, most of all, the love of nature and humanity, as they will be witnessing thousands of LED-lit water lanterns floating upon the tranquil surface of Lake Gregory.
All the fun will begin when the gates open at 5 p.m. when folks from all over Southern California are expected to arrive. They will enjoy a picnic lunch or some barbecued brisket smothered in nacho cheese from Buddy’s BBQ, a hot dog or Mexican fare from a local taco truck, while they chat with like-minded souls. Others will fashion their own unique water lantern while listening to soft, original songs to set the mood in anticipation of launching them into the chilly lake water after sunset.
Meanwhile, dozens of vendors in the nearby parking lot and on the beach shore are expected render everything, ranging from food and beverages to trinkets, jewelry, festival T-shirts and unique items such as colorful, blinking light sticks, flashing headwear and tapestries to sit upon the lakeshore, sharing positive thoughts such as love, unity, sharing and hope.
Food from food trucks can be purchased from 5 to 9 p.m. and can be enjoyed while listening to music or having fun on the beach. At 7:30 p.m., you can design your own water lantern and then launch them from the shoreline from 8 to 9 p.m. when the two-day event is expected to wind down.
For more information and to purchase tickets, log onto https://www.waterlanternfestival.com/inlandempire.php. Early bird tickets for $26.98 are already sold out; however, regular tickets are now available for $35.99 and late tickets for $45.99, while day-of-show tickets may be purchased online or at the entrance for $55.99.
Each adult ticket comes with the following: wristband for entry into the festival area with access to food trucks, floating lantern kit, LED candle, marker, playing cards, conversation cards, lantern retrieval and water cleanup.