The Water Lantern Festival will take place on Sept. 10 at...

The Water Lantern Festival will take place on Sept. 10 at Eisenhower Park. Credit: Water Lantern Festival/Water Lantern Festival

If watching thousands of glowing lanterns floating along the lake at twilight sounds like the perfect way to spend a late summer evening, look no further than the upcoming Water Lantern Festival at Eisenhower Park on Sept. 10.

“It’s basically a festival about healing and connection, and hope and happiness," says Shaylee Quick, east marketing specialist for the event which has planned nearly 80 Water Lantern Festials this year across the country, each drawing as many as 1,500 attendees. The East Meadow date marks its Long Island debut.

While a tranquil sight, the festival holds deeper meaning than a peaceful evening for many of its attendees.

Gathering near the water, everyone is given an easy-to-assemble lantern kit: a wooden bottom with dowels and four pieces of paper to make up the sides of the square lantern. People are encouraged to write messages, draw, paint pictures or write tributes to loved ones before each lantern gets outfitted with a little light. The launch takes place after sunset. 

Water Lantern Festival 

WHEN | WHERE: Sept. 10, 4:30 to 9 p.m., Eisenhower Park’s Salisbury Lake, 1770 Park Boulevard, Westbury; 516-572-0348,

COST: Adults: $35 (until 9/2); $45.99 (until 9/9); $55.99 (day of event)

“If someone passed and they miss them, it’s kind of like in memory of them,” Quick says. “So, they set the lantern on the water and that’s kind of like them healing from their passing.”

The festival, Quick adds, can help inspire an atmosphere of love.

“It kind of brings the community together," she says. "You get to meet a lot of people from different backgrounds, whether they’re celebrating it, whether they’re remembering a loved one. And, I think that alone inspires love.”

The event, which takes place at Eisenhower Park’s Salisbury Lake, also features music, courtesy of a DJ spinning family-friendly and upbeat tunes and plenty of food, with several food trucks offering barbecue, Italian food, ice cream, beer and wine, as well as other activities like light-up toy vendors and henna artists. Rapunzel and other fairy tale characters will make a special appearance, and are available for photos. .

After every event, festival organizers, who pride themselves in being environmental conscientious, make sure to completely clean up the area.

“We don’t leave any lanterns or any trash anywhere,” Quick says. “We have a buoy line that we put out in the water to keep the lanterns in a specified area, so we don’t lose any and there’s no environmental damage.”        

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