There was fun to be had at Renaissance Park last weekend, giving everyone a chance to pull up and enjoy ourselves. We told people nothing was stopping them from coming to the 1572 in full garb, and some of our rennies took that to heart. Folks show up in beautiful garb, ready to eat some bbq and sip some brews while waiting for the lights show to begin. It was very nice to catch up with people and reminded me that the community is strong, even if we can’t always come together in the way we are used to.

Some showed up to The Lights lantern fest in full garb, the event overlapping with a casual Rennie meetup. We ran into these bewitching faeries!

The area outside the gates was the set up for The Lights, a wonderful gathering opportunity for everyone to come and experience a moment of hope and joy together. They host many lantern events throughout the country, splitting the events between sky lantern and water lantern release ceremonies. The Lights frequently uses this opportunity to promote worthy causes and charities, drawing attention to many of the issues that plague our world. Last weekend’s release was dedicated to Operation Underground Railroad, a group dedicated to fighting against child sex trafficking.

Aaron LaVigne entertained the crowds

The festival itself is a lot of fun, with musical acts performing on stage and getting the crowd excited for the night’s events. A line of food trucks provided some delicious options; smoked bbq, funnel cakes, and even frozen drinks for anyone who wanted to partake. The field was lined with tiki torches at a respectable 20″ distance, giving attendees plenty of room to set up lil camps with folding chairs and blankets

I’m going to write about sending love and peace into the world and protecting the people around me.


I managed to get a few great shots from on top of the ORF entry gates. I remember spending hours up there when I was on cast, playfully heckling the crowd with the other members of Willy Nilly. Nothing beats the view from up top. The cool breeze picks up your hair and you can see the splash of red and orange as the sun sets over the mounds. The air smells like faire, and it’s good to see people wandering back and forth through the gates to grab a drink and take a quick peek at the grounds.

The sun set over the crowd. View from atop the gates

Up on stage they held a dance contest, giving out free merch to people willing to come up and strut their stuff or accept a challenge. Everyone was having a great time, but once the sun went down it was time to get back to your family as they lit up the tiki lamps and gave a quick rundown on how the lanterns work.

The lanterns used for the Lights are made from 100% biodegradable materials like rice paper, bamboo, and string. The fuel source is limited and burns up relatively quickly, ensuring that the lanterns will fall within an expected proximity depending upon wind sheer. This makes them easier to find and gather up afterward, and The Lights takes responsibility for the collection of the lanterns after they land. They always have a fire crew on hand, just in case, and the local fire department had a truck on the property should anything go awry. Which happily, it did not.

As a child looks on in awe, the lanterns takes flight

When the moment arrived, families worked together to light their lanterns and hold them steady as the rice paper filled up with hot air. It took only a minute or two, and then a small tug let you know it was time. A little release and up it goes, the soft golden glow ascending into the air, carrying with it the hope of better days ahead. Hundreds of lanterns lifted upward, creating a bejeweled night sky overhead. I heard a little girl comment that she “Felt like Rapunzel!” as she watched. It was the coolest thing to watch, and I thoroughly enjoyed lying back on the grass and seeing the lanterns soar.

Festival participants let their lanterns, and wishes, fly high into the sky.

This won’t be the last event to hit Renaissance Parks this season. While a full-scale ren faire might be off the table, get ready for Magical Days, Madrigal Knights! We have special bands that will be taking over the pirates stage across from the 1572 starting in September. Not to mention Brimstone Haunt will be there for thrills and chills starting Sep 25th. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more information as it becomes available!

The wind was steady and the lanterns landed in the field near the event as planed. Crew and volunteers alike were already on scene, picking up the lanterns even before the festival ended.