POCATELLO — For the first time ever, glowing lanterns will float on the waters of the Portneuf Wellness Complex Lake under a bright full harvest moon. It’s happening Sept. 30 and will be the keystone event of the first Harvest Lantern Festival organized by a local tumbling gym.
Randy’s Tumbling & Xtreme Fun has organized the Harvest Lantern Festival as a fundraiser in support of a new, larger location.
Over the last 13 years, it’s outgrown its current space at 4902 Burley Drive in Chubbuck and can no longer accommodate everyone who wants to learn gymnastics.
“Most of our classes fill up and then we have to turn away people,” said Drurene Bybee, co-owner of the venue. “We’ve maxed out and once you max out … you start to struggle.”
They’re hoping to raise $300,000 to get started on moving to a new building right off of New Day Freeway in a new business park. They’re aiming to accomplish this in the next year or two.
The Bybee’s don’t expect this event to raise all of the money they need, but they have other fundraising efforts they’re also undertaking.
The Harvest Lantern Festival will take place at 4 p.m. and last until 9 p.m. The main event, when people set their decorated glowing lantern on the lake water, will happen around 7:30 right after sunset.
“A full moon and those lanterns floating on the lake (will give) us such a sense of peace and calm,” Bybee said.
The lanterns will float on a piece of wood and be lit by a tea light. The lake will be cleaned once the festival is finished.
Before the lanterns illuminate the lake, festival goers will be able to enjoy bounce houses, about 13 different yard and carnival games, a parked car obstacle course, a variety of different vendor booths, food vendors and a live DJ. Children will be able to meet Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider.
The Bybees hope to turn the festival into an annual event and eventually donate the proceeds to a charitable cause in the community.
The festival is free for people to attend. Those who want to set up a lantern need to buy a kit. The Family Lantern Kit costs $90 and includes four lanterns, four wristbands, two drawstring bags, four glow sticks, two activities and one throw blanket to share. The Youth Lantern Kit includes one lantern, marker, drawstring bag and wristband.
About 300 lantern kits have been pre-ordered, and the Bybees expect to have 500 by the time the event happens.
For people who may be on the fence about attending, Bybee says it’s a unique event that only happens once a year.
“They (won’t) want to miss it,” she said. “The whole atmosphere and the whole event I think would be worth their time.”