Lanterns Flourish in the Night

Roughly 700 lanterns were released Saturday night to mark the end of the Light the Sky event at Orchard Park. The event featured children activities, live music, 60 vendors, tournaments, a chili cook-off, hay rides and more. The lanterns signified bringing the community together in a positive way. Approximately 1,700 to 2,000 attendees came throughout the day.

Approximately 700 lanterns dotted the skyline at Orchard Park Saturday.

The inaugural Light the Sky event sponsored by Roots Church was deemed a success despite the cold weather, according to Pastor Jason Gaszak.

It was a free event for the St. Clair community that featured crafts, face painting, barrel rides, hayrides, a chili cook-off, a 3-on-3 basketball match, a washers tournament, a children’s costume contest, 60 vendors, live music and more.

Gaszak said there were about 1,700 to 2,000 attendees throughout the day.

The night ended with families lighting and releasing lanterns into the sky as the Roots Church band played music. During that time, Gaszak mentioned the point was to bring the community together in a positive way.

Gaszak said he and other volunteers have received positive responses through social media regarding the event.

“We were pretty happy with (the event),” he said.

He added that the goal is to expand the event for next year by adding new activities and tweaking returning activities such as the chili cook-off. Light the Sky will take place near the same date next year.

He wanted to note that the event was meant for the whole community not just for church members.

The event was “pretty amazing,” said Starr Rodrigue, event coordinator.

She said Light the Sky received community support not only from families, but from the Parks and Recreation Department and the city.

For next year, Rodrigue said she would like to expand the kids area with more activities, as well as enhance the chili cook-off portion of the event.

Gaszak and Rodrigue thanked volunteers and everyone involved in the event.

During Monday’s park board meeting, members discussed how well the event went. The park board had a booth at the event where they provided candy, games and more. A Snapchat filter also was created for the event as an added feature for social media posts.

“The lantern lighting was beautiful. It was the first year for them to do that and it went very successfully,” Par Board President Dana Collins-Messex said.

“There were only a few hiccups and they are going to use trial and error to make that better.”

Collins-Messex noted there were only a few noise complaints from nearby residents about the live music. She said residents were made aware of the event and that Roots Church did turn down the bass.

Light the Sky took the place of Boo! Bash this year.

Since both events have same general concept, the park board voted to not have Boo! Bash this year during a September meeting.