RiSE Lantern Festival returns to comfort and inspire

When Sheila Balbin learned about the RiSE Lantern Festival just outside Las Vegas in 2014, she immediately thought of her late husband and the comfort she would feel doing something symbolic in his honor.

Her husband had taken his own life in 2013 and the date of the first lantern festival in Southern Nevada coincided with the anniversary of when they first met.

“It did bring me peace,” she says, “because I was able to put down my feelings and my thoughts on the lantern and let it go and just release it.”

That kind of catharsis is what the RiSE festival is all about, says founder Dan Hill of the annual event that will be held for the third time this weekend.

“I think that the prevailing theme is joy and optimism,” he says. “Trying to find joy in the midst of hard times and also celebrate and have gratitude for great things that are happening in life as well.”

The RiSE Festival returns to the Moapa River Reservation about 30 miles northeast of Las Vegas, expanding to two nights, Friday and Saturday, with an estimated 10,000 attendees expected each night. Saturday’s event is sold out; tickets for Friday are still available for $109 online at risefestival.com.

The event includes food trucks and live music. Beginning with a launch in unison at 8 p.m., participants light paper lanterns and watch them rise together.

People travel to the quiet desert locale to reconcile recent divorces, diagnoses and deaths. They celebrate births and other beginnings. There are usually a couple of dozen marriage proposals each year, Hill says.

Hill, who’d worked in events planning for nearly a decade prior to starting RiSE, was inspired by the annual Thai festival called Yi Peng in which thousands of paper lanterns are released into the night sky for good luck.

And while participants like Balbin gathered meaning from the first event, it was not without problems. Attendees waited hours longer than anticipated at Jean Dry Lake for shuttles back to the casinos where they parked their cars, resulting in considerable frustration and a “Boycott RISE Festival” Facebook page. It also took 24 hours longer to clean up the festival grounds than the 48-hour cleanup window agreed upon with the Bureau of Land Management.

In 2015, Hill moved the event to the Moapa River Indian reservation after the BLM denied the festival a permit for the same dry lake bed, citing concerns from the year before. Because the reservation is operated by the Moapa Paiute tribe, RiSE organizers did not need federal or state permits. The new location also includes on-site parking. The 2015 festival was uneventful, Hill says, and they left the location cleaner than they found it.

Las Vegan Molly Sweat and her husband were among last year’s attendees, and they brought photos and shoes as remembrances of loved ones they had lost. Releasing the lantern was unwieldy, and required the help of others nearby, but as she gazed at it floating away, she felt as if a weight was being lifted away.

“It’s a journey that, anybody that is suffering from some kind of hardship in their life, they need to go because it can actually help you accept and give you peace,” Sweat says.

For Balbin, traveling from her then-home in San Francisco to Las Vegas for RiSE felt like the right step in “a journey for me to find that peace for myself,” she says, noting she and her husband had actually talked about the tradition of rising lanterns. She hoped that, through the release of a lantern, she could send the message to her late husband that she still loved him.

On the night of the festival, Balbin and a friend settled on a spot near the stage, where live music played.

On the delicate paper she had written, “You will forever be my always. I have faith our love will continue in heaven. Thank you for loving me unconditionally, thank you for all the laughter you brought into my life. Thank you for being my papillon I love you w/ all my heart …” She also wrote a selection of Bible verses.

When Hill gave the cue, she lifted her lantern and released it, where it joined the tens of thousands of other glowing tributes in the sky.

“It was such a personal and emotional time for me that really, as many people as attended, it literally felt like it was just me and my husband,” Balbin recalls.

Read more from Sarah Corsa at reviewjournal.com. Contact her at scorsa@reviewjournal.com and follow @sarahcorsa on Twitter.

Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
The "13 Reasons Why" mustang cruises down the Las Vegas Strip (Courtesy Netflix)
4 fun and fascinating museums in Las Vegas
U2 in Vegas through the years
U2 in Vegas through the years
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Black Tap In Las Vegas Makes This Instagram-ready Golden Knights Shake (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre Premieres Until December
‘Until December’ debuts at ‘Ballet & Broadway’ season finale (Carol Cling Las Vegas
Celebrate The Golden Knights With Knights-inpired Latte Art (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single Ramsey, who shot to fame after a viral video of him yodeling at an Illinois Walmart surfaced, just debuted “Famous.” “If I'm gonna be famous for somethin'/I wanna be famous for lovin' you/If I'm gonna be known around the world/I wanna because of you, girl” Mason Ramsey, “Famous” It’s been quite the rush to stardom for the 11-year-old, who appeared on The Ellen Show and performed at Coachella earlier this month. “I’d been to Nashville a few times before, but never thought something like this would happen. It’s a dream to sign with Atlantic and Big Loud.” Mason Ramsey “I loved recording ‘Famous’ and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala. (Janna Karel Las Vegas review-Journal)
"Hamilton" Fans Line Up Overnight At Smith Center To Get Tickets
"Hamilton" fans line up overnight at Smith Center to get tickets. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 concerts to see in Las Vegas this week
You can visit the speakeasy in The Mob Museum's basement... if you know the password
6 new foods hitting movie theaters in 2018
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl! The 45-year-old actor posted an adorable photo on Instagram, celebrating his newborn baby girl, Tiana Gia Johnson. Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram This is Johnson’s second daughter with his girlfriend, Lauren Hashian. His oldest daughter, Simone Garcia Johnson, came from his previous marriage. Johnson and Hashian first announced they were expecting another child back in January. Congratulations!!
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend Car Show celebrates 21st year
The Stray Cats, Jerry Lee Lewis, Duane Eddy, Elvira and Mitch Polzak make appearances the 21st Annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend car show at the Orleans hotel and casino on Saturday, April 21, 2018.
This "Alice in Wonderland" cocktail changes colors and flavors while you sip
Take a tour of The Underground at The Mob Museum
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Big Bounce America visits North Las Vegas
Billing itself as "the biggest bounce house in the world," Big Bounce America visits Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
Disneyland debuts new foods for Pixar Fest on Friday
Pixar Fest takes place ahead of California Adventure’s Pixar Pier expansion. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sneak Peek at New Decorations, Merch and Parade for Disneyland's Pixar Fest
Las Vegas Philharmonic celebrates 20th anniversary season
Orchestra’s 2018-19 season features premiere, more (Carol Cling/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Las Vegas' newest bar is a reggae lounge
Jammyland serves island-inspired cocktails. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
This boozy milkshake is big enough to share with seven of your best friends
Fiddlestix makes an "8 Man Milkshake" that's packed with alcohol. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five Chris Stapleton songs you need to hear
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like