Water Lantern Festival returns to Kingdom Come

Published 9:00 am Friday, August 26, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Kingdom Come State Park will hold the annual Water Lantern Festival on Sept. 2nd at the Kingdom Come State Park Lake, continuing a tradition that began as a memorial for several years.

Sherry Cornett, the park manager of Kingdom Come State Park, talked about this year’s event.

“It’s on Friday, Sept. 2,” Cornett said. “It’s a memorial event in honor of your loved ones or anybody that was special to you. It’s to honor them.”

Email newsletter signup

According to Cornett, the event features a special type of lantern.

“We make floating lanterns,” Cornett said. “We give you all the supplies. It’s got a little light in it, and you have rice paper that you decorate in honor of your loved ones, then you wrap that around for little sticks on a base and put the light in it.”

Once finished, the lanterns are put to use.

“At dark, we sit them in the lake, and they all float across the lake in honor of loved ones,” Cornett said. “It’s kind of an emotional moment.”

In addition to the lanterns, there will also be another tradition taking place.

“We also have flying wish papers,” Cornett said. “You can make a wish or send something out to someone that you wanted to say and didn’t get to say. You write it on that paper, roll it up and light it, and it flies off into the sky.”

Cornett mentioned how the annual event got its start.

“We had a little girl that was special in our area that had passed away,” Cornett explained. “I wanted to do something at that time to honor not just her but other loved ones as well. I looked for different ideas and came up with this one.”

The event has since taken place annually except for one year missed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first event saw more than 100 participants.

“The first year, we had about 150 people,” Cornett said. “I expect around 100 people this time.”

The event also features free food and music for the participants.

Cornett mentioned Dionne Baptist Church takes care of the grilling and preparing hot dogs, chips, and drinks for the folks.

“They are wonderful,” Cornett said. “They volunteer quite a bit. Pastor Mitch Huff has been wonderful. The church has really helped us out a lot.”

Lanterns can be purchased at the event or ahead of time at the Kingdom Come State Park Gift Shop.

“You can just show up and purchase your lantern,” Cornett said. “We have tables set out, and we supply them with all the paint and markers and things to use to decorate the lanterns. If they want to put something special on it, they can bring it from home.”

Admission is $10.

For more information, call 606-589-2478 or 606-589-4138.