Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival – A Must-See Lighting Event


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Welcome to the Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival – an enchanting event that celebrates togetherness, love, peace, and hope. Join us as we discover this much-anticipated festival of illumination.

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Festival highlights

About the Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival

The Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival is more than just an event; it is a radiant celebration of community spirit. Picture this: as dusk falls, the water transforms, mirroring a sky brimming with enchanting stars, thanks to countless lanterns afloat. This spectacle is the heart of the festival, drawing people together in a shared moment of beauty and reflection.

Amidst the glow of lanterns, the festival buzzes with life, offering a range of activities and live music that caters to all ages. It’s a day where laughter fills the air, melodies weave through the crowd, and the joy of togetherness is palpable. Everyone leaves with cherished memories, having experienced a unique blend of fun and serenity.

At its core, the Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival embodies love, peace, and hope. Each lantern, set adrift, carries personal messages and dreams, creating a tapestry of collective hopes on the water’s surface. It is a powerful symbol and a reminder of the shared light within the community, making the Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival a beacon of light in the truest sense.

Festival Dates (2024)

Mark your calendars for August 17, 2024, a date set to illuminate Bakersfield with the enchanting Water Lantern Festival. This annual spectacle of illumination and community transforms a regular evening into an unforgettable experience, where light and water merge in a dance of serenity. It is a not-to-be-missed event, perfect for making summer memories that will last a lifetime.

As the sun sets on this special day, the festival will come alive, inviting attendees to partake in a celebration of light and unity, dreams and hope. 

Come and celebrate this radiant evening, where every lantern launched is a beacon of peace and joy.

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An image inspired by the Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival

Where It’s Located and How to Get There

The Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival finds its picturesque setting at The Park at River Walk, located at 11298 Stockdale Hwy, Bakersfield, California, United States. This scenic venue, with its serene waterways and lush landscapes, provides the perfect backdrop for the lanterns’ luminous display. It’s a space where the community comes together, surrounded by nature’s beauty, to partake in an evening of light, hope, and harmony.

Situated conveniently close to Meadows Field Airport, the festival venue is just a short journey away, making it easily accessible for those flying in. To reach The Park at River Walk from the airport, visitors have several options:

  • Taxi Service: Available outside the airport terminal, offering a direct and comfortable ride to the festival.
  • Ride-Sharing: Apps like Uber and Lyft provide convenient, app-based transportation services from the airport.
  • Public Transportation: Local bus services offer an economical option, though it may require a transfer.

To reach the Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival at The Park at River Walk from other cities by train, follow these guidelines:

  • Identify Your Nearest Amtrak Station: Begin by locating the nearest Amtrak station in your city. Amtrak serves numerous locations across the United States, providing a convenient starting point for your journey.
  • Book Your Train to Bakersfield: Purchase a ticket on the San Joaquins line, which operates routes connecting various cities to Bakersfield. Check Amtrak’s schedule and availability for the most suitable train.
  • Enjoy the Journey: Board your train and enjoy the scenic ride to Bakersfield. The duration of your trip will vary depending on your starting location.
  • Arrive at Bakersfield Amtrak Station: Your train will arrive at the Bakersfield Amtrak Station, located at 601 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93301. This is your gateway to the festival.

Upon reaching Bakersfield, you have several options to get from the train station to The Park at River Walk:

  • Taxi Service: Find taxis available outside the station for a direct and hassle-free ride to the festival location.
  • Ride-Sharing Apps: Utilize services like Uber or Lyft for a convenient and efficient journey from the station to The Park at River Walk.
  • Public Transportation: Explore Bakersfield’s local bus service for a cost-effective option. Be sure to check the latest bus schedules and routes to ensure a smooth connection to the festival.

If you liked this festival, you might also want to check out these other amazing lantern festivals:

Hartford Water Lantern Festival

Huntsville Water Lantern Festival

Full Moon Lantern Festival

Festival Hours

The Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival welcomes guests from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM, offering an evening filled with light, music, and community spirit. Gates open promptly at 5:00 PM, inviting attendees to immerse themselves in the pre-launch festivities. It’s a time for creativity and relaxation, with activities like lantern designing and enjoying live music setting the tone for the evening.

As the sun begins to set, the anticipation builds, culminating in the magical lantern launch between 8:00 and 9:00 PM. This hour transforms the water into a mesmerizing spectacle of floating lights, each carrying its own story and message. This is the highlight of the festival, creating a shared moment of beauty and reflection under the summer night sky.

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An image inspired by the enchanting beauty of Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival

How Much Does It Cost to See the Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival

Securing your spot at the Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival is both simple and flexible, with ticket prices structured to reward early purchasers. Adult tickets start at an early bird price of $26.98, available until February 28, 2024, encouraging early commitments to this enchanting evening. 

As the event draws nearer, prices gently rise to $35.99 until August 9, then to $45.99 until the eve of the festival, culminating at $55.99 for those deciding on the day itself, August 17, 2024.

For families attending with children, the festival is an affordable outing, with youth tickets priced at just $12.45 for ages 8-14. The event is especially welcoming for the youngest guests, with kids aged 0-7 admitted free of charge, making it a perfect family-friendly event. This pricing strategy ensures that the festival is accessible to everyone, promising a memorable experience for attendees of all ages.

For more information, visit the festival’s official website and social media channels.

Weather and What to Wear

In August, Bakersfield, California, basks in the warmth of late summer, providing an idyllic backdrop for the Water Lantern Festival. Temperatures during this time of year typically range from the mid-60s to the high 90s Fahrenheit, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere well into the evening. The clear skies and balmy evenings are perfect for enjoying the outdoor festivities, as the gentle breeze off the water adds a refreshing touch to the warmth of the summer night.

For a comfortable experience at the festival, consider the following clothing recommendations:

  • Lightweight, Breathable Fabrics: Opt for clothes made from cotton or linen to stay cool during the warmer parts of the evening.
  • Comfortable Footwear: Since the event involves walking and standing, wear comfortable shoes such as sandals or sneakers.
  • Layered Clothing: Bring a light jacket or sweater for the cooler temperatures that can set in after sunset.
  • Hats and Sunglasses: Protect yourself from the sun during the early hours of the festival with a wide-brimmed hat and UV-protection sunglasses.
  • Water-Resistant Clothing: While not typically necessary, a light water-resistant layer can be handy in case of an unexpected sprinkle.

Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby

For those attending the Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival and looking for a comfortable place to stay, numerous hotels nearby offer a range of amenities to suit various preferences and budgets.

La Quinta Inn by Wyndham Bakersfield South

  • Location: 3232 Riverside Dr, Bakersfield, CA 93308, United States
  • Description: This 2-star hotel offers a cozy stay with convenient access to local attractions.
  • Amenities:
    • Free parking for guests
    • Complimentary breakfast to start your day
    • Outdoor pool for relaxation
    • Free Wi-Fi to stay connected

DoubleTree by Hilton Bakersfield

  • Location: 3100 Camino Del Rio Ct, Bakersfield, CA 93308, United States
  • Description: A 3-star hotel known for its warm cookies at check-in and comfortable accommodations.
  • Amenities:
    • Free parking available
    • Swimming pool to unwind
    • Fitness center for your workout needs
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel

Hilton Garden Inn Bakersfield

  • Location: 3625 Marriott Dr, Bakersfield, CA 93308, United States
  • Description: This 3-star hotel provides a welcoming atmosphere with modern rooms and excellent service.
  • Amenities:
    • Free parking for convenience
    • Indoor pool for year-round swimming
    • Pet-friendly, so your furry friends are welcome
    • Free Wi-Fi to keep you connected during your stay

Where to Eat – Restaurants Nearby

For those exploring the culinary delights of Bakersfield while attending the Water Lantern Festival, here are some nearby restaurants that cater to a variety of tastes and preferences.

Olive Garden Italian Restaurant

  • Location: 1701 New Stine Rd, Bakersfield, CA 93309, United States
  • Description: A lively, family-friendly chain known for its Italian dishes like pastas and salads, offering a welcoming atmosphere.
  • Foods Served:
    • Wide variety of pastas
    • Fresh salads
    • Vegetarian dishes available

Firestone Grill

  • Location: 3501 California Ave, Bakersfield, CA 93309, United States
  • Description: A place where you can enjoy steak sandwiches, burgers, and ribs in a vibrant sports-bar setting.
  • Foods Served:
    • Steak sandwiches
    • Juicy burgers
    • Succulent ribs
    • Vegetarian options available

Zama Latin American Cuisine

  • Location: 1623 19th St Suite 100, Bakersfield, CA 93301, United States
  • Description: A place that stands out for its great cocktails and Latin American dishes, providing a unique dining experience.
  • Foods Served:
    • Tacos with a variety of fillings
    • Quesadilla de pollo, a flavorful chicken dish
    • A selection of other Latin American specialties

More Things to Do in the Area

Beyond the enchanting Water Lantern Festival, Bakersfield offers a variety of attractions to enhance your visit, providing opportunities to explore the rich cultural and natural heritage of the area.

California Living Museum (CALM)

  • Location: 10500 Alfred Harrell Hwy, Bakersfield, CA 93306, United States
  • Description: Dedicated to the conservation of California’s native wildlife and plants, CALM offers an intimate zoo experience focusing on the unique flora and fauna of Kern County.
  • Activities to Explore:
    • Wildlife exhibits featuring native California species
    • Botanical gardens showcasing local plant life
    • Educational programs and interactive experiences for all ages

Bakersfield Museum of Art

  • Location: 1930 R St, Bakersfield, CA 93301, United States
  • Description: Nestled in Central Park, this museum enriches the community with its diverse collection of regional art, temporary exhibitions, and educational initiatives.
  • Activities to Explore:
    • Viewing the permanent collection of regional artworks
    • Exploring traveling art exhibits
    • Participating in art workshops and community events

Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace

  • Location: 2800 Buck Owens Blvd, Bakersfield, CA 93308, United States
  • Description: This iconic venue celebrates the legacy of Buck Owens, a pioneer of the Bakersfield Sound, offering live country music, dining, and a glimpse into music history.
  • Activities to Explore:
    • Enjoying live country music performances
    • Dining on Southern-style cuisine
    • Viewing Buck Owens’ memorabilia and learning about the Bakersfield Sound

An Illuminating Conclusion: Wrapping Up Your Unforgettable Visit to the Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival

The Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival stands out as a beacon of light, bringing people together in a celebration of hope, peace, and community. Amidst the glow of lanterns on the water, attendees find a moment of unity and reflection, making it a truly unforgettable experience. 

Whether you’re joining in the lantern launch, enjoying the music, or exploring Bakersfield’s attractions, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss this luminous event, where every lantern tells a story and every face in the crowd shines with joy.


Is there parking available at the festival?

Yes, there is parking available at The Park at River Walk for festival attendees. It’s advisable to arrive early as spaces might fill up quickly due to the popularity of the event.

Can I bring my own lantern to the festival?

Attendees are encouraged to use the lanterns provided by the festival to ensure they are eco-friendly and suitable for the event. These lanterns are designed to be safe for the environment and are included with the purchase of your ticket.

Are pets allowed at the festival?

While we love furry friends, pets are not typically allowed at the festival to ensure the safety and comfort of all attendees, unless they are certified service animals.

Is smoking permitted at the festival?

Smoking is not permitted within the festival grounds to ensure a clean and safe environment for all attendees, especially considering the close proximity to water and the use of paper lanterns.

What happens in case of rain?

The festival is a rain-or-shine event. In the case of extreme weather conditions, organizers may postpone or cancel the event for the safety of the attendees. It’s best to check the official festival website or social media channels for real-time updates.

Are there food and beverages available at the festival?

Yes, the festival typically features a variety of food vendors offering a range of culinary options. Attendees can also bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages, but please note that glass containers and alcohol are not permitted.

What should I bring to the festival?

It’s recommended to bring a blanket or chairs for seating, a jacket or sweater for the evening, and a reusable water bottle. Don’t forget your camera to capture the beautiful moments!

Is the festival suitable for children?

Absolutely! The Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival is a family-friendly event with activities and entertainment suitable for all ages. Children can enjoy designing their lanterns, and there are often other kid-friendly activities available.

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An image inspired from the Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival


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