Thousands Release Lanterns Into the Sky at RiSE Festival

Festival a celebration of hope and inspiration

Thousands gathered at the Moapa River Indian Reservation in Mojave, California, Saturday for the annual RiSE Festival.

The hallmark of the festival, which includes live music and food, is the simultaneous release of thousands of lanterns into the night sky.

According to the organization's website, "RiSE elevates hope, ignites dreams, and creates memories you will never forget."

Rachel Myers attended the event this year and last.

"To see the lanterns all go off is just beautiful and it's a moment to remember and it's unusual," Myers said. "It's unlike anything I've ever seen."

Festival-goers wrote messages, prayers, dreams and resolutions on the lanterns before releasing them. Thousands of lanterns were released simultaneously, and people were able to continue releasing lanterns as the evening progressed.

For Jennifer Menezes, the RiSE Festival is an emotional experience.

"Last year, I came to the RiSE Festival and it was the most emotional experience – highs and lows – that I've ever experienced in my life," she said. "There's something about it that just touches me deep in my soul."

In keeping with the organization's commitment to sustainability, the lanterns are entirely biodegradable, according to the event website. Organizers planned to recover the lanterns after they landed.

RiSE Festival has been held in Mojave before, and organizers plan to expand with a Phoenix event next year.

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