Sky Lantern Crisis, operation: Bucketlist

Sky Lantern Crisis, operation: Bucketlist

One of my bucket list items is to one day see and be apart of “Sky Lantern Festival.” I am pretty sure there can’t be much out there that is more breath taking.

My chance ALMOST occurred in August of last year….yes…ALMOST.

Right now I am in that phase of life where everyone around me is getting married. Especially everyone in my close group of friends. We would laugh to each other and say after each wedding, “And then there were 5” after the next wedding, “And then there were 4”, and so on and so forth. (Btw now it is “And then there was 1” can you guess who that is? Yes. It is me. Another story, another time…haha!)
So my little sister, Katie got married last August and she like me ( and probably two billion other people out there) was IN LOVE with these sky lanterns. She and her fiancé bought about 70 from some “not commonly known” internet site. But who cares? Their “wedding exit” was going to be an epic event. And I was going to be able to cross something off my bucket list. Everyone in the wedding party was THRILLED.

Except Katie’s future father-in-law, Dave.

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” he would say shaking his head.
“You guys are gonna light somethin on fire,” more head shaking
“I think those things are illegal” followed by look of disapproval

Katie and Noah decided, to ease Dave’s fears by testing out the lanterns a few weeks before the wedding. Even during the testing Dave was warning against it.

“Dad, it won’t even do anything. Look the label says that the fire extinguishes in air, hundreds of feet above the ground and then it slowly comes back down. There won’t be any fires,” Noah told him in his usual happy-go-lucky voice.

“I REALLY think this is a bad idea,” Dave said firmly and added, “and I think it’s illegal in our township.” (btw….I never heard or knew townships existed before coming out east…so complex people!)

“I’ll just see if it will raise into the sky and right when it starts to lift, I’ll grab it and put the fire out. Dad, It WILL BE OK!” Noah said holding one sky lantern in his hand.

A group of us gathered on the back porch to watch: Katie, me, my boyfriend, and a hesitant Dave.

Noah opened up the lantern the best he could and lit the wick (which was a square contraption-I have no idea how it worked.) We all watched with twinkling eyes waiting for that magical moment when the sky lantern would lift. And there is sat. And sat. And sat.

Thinking it was defective Noah set up and lit another lantern. Same thing. No movement, not even an inch off the ground. “Let me give it a boost.” Noah said and lifted the lantern about an inch off the porch. Nothing. He tried over and over again, raising it higher and higher each time; still the lantern just sunk to the floor. We were all disappointed, except Dave, he was clearly relieved.

I wasn’t ready to give up on the lantern. LIGHT BULB goes off in my mind! “You guys, in the movies you have to ‘send it off’ almost push it into the sky,” I said picking up the lantern and imagining myself as a native of Taiwan. I lifted it high over my head and pushed it off.


We all gazed on it starry eyed….but then it was 15 feet in the air.

“Noah-grab that sucker!” Dave hissed.

“CRAP!” Noah leaped into the air in a futile attempt to bring the sky lantern back to earth.

It was now floating twenty feet above our heads. Noah grabbed a nearby snow shovel and attempted to bat it from the sky. But it was no use, the lantern had officially set sail. Fifty feet, one hundred feet, two hundred feet it went up. We watched it become a speck in the sky.

Dave was frazzled. “This is bad. This is very bad. The police are going to come.”

“Dad, they won’t know where it even came from, besides it was an accident,” Noah said.

We watched the speck of the lantern hovering over the city, thrilled that it worked and believing there was nothing to worry about.

“It’s so beautiful! These will look awesome at the wedding!” Katie and I exclaimed.

“See, Dad, no worries. They are harmless–

Noah hadn’t even finished his sentence when Dave cut him off, “Is it just me or is it coming down? It is coming down-fast!”

We watched in horror as the sky lantern seemed to pause in mid air then come crashing at top speed back to earth still on fire.

“Someone get water!” Noah screamed and went running in the direction of the lantern.

I grabbed a bucket and filled it with water from the kitchen sink and went running after him to find that the lantern had logged itself into a tree.

This just got from bad…to worse. We watched helplessly as the fire still remained flickering fifty feet up in this tree knowing that it would be just a matter of moments before the tree was engulfed in flames and an entire mobile home park was in danger.

Then, like promised, the fire went out. BIG SIGH OF RELIEF. We all screamed cheers and started to breath again.

Needless to say, Katie and Noah didn’t have sky lanterns at their wedding- so seeing a sky full of sky lanterns is STILL on my bucket list. (and yes, I am tempted to use the remaining 68 lanterns…maybe a beach adventure?)

Anyone else have a bucket list/ wedding disaster?


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