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Journal, Downard to host A Night of Lights Water Lantern Festival on Saturday

April 12, 2019

POCATELLO — Traci Lund anticipates the public will be treated to a powerful and moving visual display Saturday night, when hundreds of people will light candle lanterns that float in the lake at the Portneuf Wellness Complex.

Lund, event manager with the Idaho State Journal, said the inaugural A Night of Lights Water Lantern Festival will provide a venue for people to fondly reflect on their personal aspirations and remember lost loved ones. The event will be sponsored by both the Journal and Downard Funeral Home.

“It’s a great way for people to get together and write a note to a loved one who is not here any more for a remembrance, or they can just do an inspirational message or a note of courage,” Lund said. “We’re going to light the whole pond up. I just think it’s going to be an unforgettable experience.”

A group of Highland High School students will launch five of the lanterns in memory of their classmate, Kelsie Clay Bloxham, a 16-year-old junior who died in December.

“My husband and I are just moved by Highland students’ involvement and the love and support they’ve shown for Kelsie,” said her mother, Patti Koger-Obray. “They have gone above and beyond to be amazing peers to her. I hope she knows how much she was loved by her peers.”

Koger-Obray and her husband have also purchased five lanterns in remembrance of Bloxham.

Anyone interested in participating may buy a lantern kit for $10 in advance of the event at myidahotix.com, or for $15 at the event. Participants may pick up lanterns at the Portneuf Wellness Center ticket office from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Lanterns will be decorated from 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Opening remarks will be delivered at 7:15 p.m., and the event’s keynote speaker, Miranda Hedges, will deliver her remarks starting at 7:20 p.m.

As lanterns are launched, local singer Andie Peck will perform “Candle in the Water.”

“It’s going to be an unforgettable experience,” Lund said.

Lund said food will be sold by the Thanks a Brunch food truck, and Muddy’s will sell hot chocolate and coffee. Wild Lines will sell face painting services.

A volunteer with a kayak has agreed to help move the lanterns to one end of the pond after the event is over, and the Century High School marching band will aid in the cleanup.