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Light Up the Sky to Kick Off New Year’s Eve

Lantern Lighting NYE 2015 - Photo by Janet Juroch

Garden Valley – The Annual Lantern Lighting is this coming weekend at Weilmunster Park at 6 PM, which is sponsored by the Garden Valley Chamber of Commerce.  The event is a fundraiser for the Chamber’s Scholarship fund, where two deserving GVHS Seniors will receive $1000 each. The Garden Valley Market or Garden Valley Properties have the lanterns for sale at only $5.00 each. They might have a few at the park for sale at $6.00 each.

Sales of the lanterns can be brisk right before New Year’s Eve, so it is suggested to get them early in case they run out.  The Lantern Lighting event is one of the favorites in the area and is talked about all year.  No one lets the cold and snow stop them from enjoying a time out to celebrate with the family and start the New Year’s celebrations with the awesome spectacle of the lanterns floating into the sky.

The lanterns are made of all biodegradable materials and will not harm the environment.  Some people will buy their own lanterns from various companies and set them off on their own during the year.  There have been reports of finding lanterns that are not biodegradable.  Diane Caughlin, the Greater Garden Valley Chamber President, makes sure the lanterns are made of environmentally safe materials.

Lanterns are often sent off after writing a wish on the lantern before lighting. The history of the lanterns started off in the ancient Chinese culture to send off as an announcement of news or to send off as good luck. It was also believed that the lanterns could send messages to deceased relatives as it floats high in the sky.

Construction is simple and yet provide a glow as they float upwards. The first lanterns were paper that was oiled and set on a bamboo frame. Now the lanterns are made of a thin metal wire that makes a frame for the paper to cover.  Some lanterns are made of different colors of paper. The lanterns for the Chamber event are a soft beige colored paper that glows against the wintry night.

By purchasing the lanterns early, there is time to write wishes or prayers on the lantern.  This is a good project with kids to help them get their words on the paper lantern.  At the event everyone is anxious to set off the lanterns or it may be too cold to want to write.  As the lanterns stream up into the sky, the voices of excitement are heard from young and old alike.

It is likely to be cold and snow on the ground.  Castle Mountain Homes helps with getting fire rings in place for warmth. Dress warm and bring some hot drinks for the festivities.  The photos are spectacular as the lanterns are released into the night sky.  This is a time for great memories as friends and family get together to start off with a breathtaking New Year’s Eve and knowing it is a fundraiser for a good cause. “Lanterns go fast, so don’t delay,” says Caughlin.

Written by Janet Juroch

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