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Last weekend, thousands gathered in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, for an unforgettable eruption of Sky Lanterns.

The Lights Fest, a national festival of paper Sky Lanterns, came to the Milwaukee/Madison area over Labor Day weekend, featuring live music, food trucks and a group lantern launch.

According to The Lights Fest website, “At the perfect moment, everyone ignites their personalized sky lanterns with Tiki torches and lets them take flight. It creates a surreal ambiance, where time slows down as your single flame rises with thousands of others.”

Photographer Amelia Coffaro attended and captured the event. Coffaro agrees that the experience was surreal in its tranquility and camaraderie.

“Being in the middle of the lantern launch was entirely magical – there is a silence and stillness that washes over hundreds of people,” Coffaro said. “It brought tears to many people’s eyes, including mine.”

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro


What Lights You?

The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

Eugene and Emily, Chicago

Eugene: “Her happiness.”
Emily: “My family.”


The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

Megha & Kalpesh, Chicago

Megha: “Nature. Light. Colors.”
Kalpesh: “Light. It gets rid of darkness.”


The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

Maggie, Milwaukee

“Going to adventurous places. Something new. Being around people.”


The Lights Festival

Photo by Amelia Coffaro

Lily, Shorewood, Wi

“Doing fancy art. I draw and paint dragons.”

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