Santee Lakes’ 1000 Lights Water Lantern Festival returns to light waters and hearts

Courtesy photo.

Santee Lakes will be hosting their first 1000 Lights Water Lantern Festival on lake one, March 23. Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve and 1000 Lights Water Festival, out of Arizona, are putting on the event.

“It’s a family, friendly floating lantern festival,” said Nina Tarantino, parks and recreation manager.  “This is our first time – rain or shine.”

About 2,000 people are expected to participate.

“Everyone who purchases a ticket will receive a lantern kit,” said Tarantino. “Basically, it has a LED candle and you get the kit and decorate your kit.  I’ve seen inspirational, in memory of and positive messages.”

The process is simple, explained Tarantino.

“You draw on the paper and set it on a base,” she said.

The lantern launch begins by 8 p.m. and if participants wish to collect their lanterns they can wait until after the lanterns are retrieved.

“Prior to the launch there will be games, entertainment and multiple food trucks,” said Tarantino.

Photo opportunities will be abundant.

The original floating lantern festivals can be traced back to the Loi Krathong Festival in Thailand.  Lotus shaped banana leaves were used centuries ago.  The floating water lanterns represented life and new beginnings. Aerial lanterns are also used.

Be advised the event is close to being sold-out according to Tarantino. Ticket prices vary by age. Parking is $10. The hours for the festival are 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. To purchase any remaining tickets at: