Colorado Water Lantern Festival – A Lighting Event You Should See


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Welcome to the enchanting Colorado Water Lantern Festival – an event filled with the spirit of togetherness, hope, peace, and love. Join us in an unforgettable journey of lights and dreams, all under the starlit Colorado sky. 

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Festival highlights

About the Colorado Water Lantern Festival

The Colorado Water Lantern Festival lights up Thornton, Colorado, with its enchanting display of lanterns on water, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. It is a festival that embodies community spirit, radiating peace, love, and hope. Families and friends from all over gather in unity, basking in the glow of countless lanterns adrift.

The unmissable event is packed with lively activities. Attendees can enjoy live music, dive into fun games, and get creative with lantern designing. The atmosphere buzzes with excitement and joy, setting the stage for the festival’s magical moments.

As dusk falls, the festival reaches its crescendo with the lantern launch – the highlight of the event. Messages of hopes and dreams inscribed on every lantern are set afloat, turning the water into a canvas of light. It is a poignant reminder of shared aspirations, making the Colorado Water Lantern Festival a truly unforgettable experience.

Festival Dates (2024)

The Colorado Water Lantern Festival is set to illuminate the night sky on July 13, 2024. This one-night event promises an unforgettable experience, blending tradition with a communal celebration of light and water. It’s a unique opportunity to witness the beauty of lanterns dancing on the water’s surface.

Gather your loved ones for this spectacular evening in Thornton, Colorado. The festivities kick off as the sun sets, transforming the landscape into a glowing wonderland. 

Don’t miss the chance to be a part of this radiant festival of lights and lanterns.

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An image inspired by the Colorado Water Lantern Festival

Where It’s Located and How to Get There

The Colorado Water Lantern Festival finds its home at Carpenter Park, located at 10698 Garfield St, Thornton, Colorado. This picturesque venue offers the perfect backdrop for the festival, with its serene water bodies and open spaces ideal for the array of activities planned for the event. Carpenter Park’s welcoming ambiance makes it an ideal setting for an evening filled with light, music, and community spirit.

The nearest airport to Thornton, Colorado is Denver International Airport, providing easy access for visitors traveling from afar. To reach the festival from the airport, visitors have several transportation options:

  • Taxi or Rideshare: A direct and convenient way to reach the park, with numerous services available right outside the airport.
  • Public Transportation: Buses run regularly from the airport to Thornton, offering an affordable and eco-friendly option.
  • Car Rental: For those preferring their own transport, several car rental agencies are available at the airport.

For guests arriving by train from other cities, here’s how you can reach Carpenter Park:

  • From Denver: Take the RTD light rail from Union Station to the Thornton Park-n-Ride, then a short taxi or bus ride to Carpenter Park.
  • From Boulder: Catch the FF1 bus to Downtown Denver, transfer to the RTD light rail towards Thornton, and then taxi or bus to the festival location.
  • From Colorado Springs: Board a train to Denver’s Union Station, switch to the RTD light rail directed to Thornton, and conclude with a taxi or bus ride to Carpenter Park.

If you liked this festival, you can also check these other festivals as well:

Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival

Huntsville Water Lantern Festival

Festival Hours

The gates to the Colorado Water Lantern Festival swing open at 5:30 PM, inviting attendees into an evening filled with joy and luminosity. From the moment you enter until the event concludes at 10:00 PM, the park comes alive with the sound of music, the aroma of food trucks, and a variety of fun activities. It’s an immersive experience where every moment is a celebration.

As the clock strikes 8:00 PM, the festival takes a reflective turn, inviting participants to design their own lanterns. This creative interlude leads up to the much-anticipated lantern launch between 8:30 and 10:00 PM, where the water becomes a twinkling tapestry of hopes and dreams. The event draws to a close at 10:00 PM, leaving hearts warmed and spirits lifted.

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

Securing your spot at the Colorado Water Lantern Festival is straightforward, with ticket prices structured to reward early birds. Adult tickets are priced at $35.99 until July 5, after which they rise to $45.99 until July 12, culminating at $55.99 on the day of the event, July 13. Youth tickets for those aged 8-14 are available for $12.45, while kids 7 and under can join the festivities for free, without a lantern kit.

Each adult ticket is packed with value, offering more than just entry to this luminous celebration. Ticket holders receive:

  • Wristband for festival area access
  • Floating lantern kit and LED candle
  • Commemorative drawstring bag
  • Conversation and playing cards
  • Marker for personalizing lanterns
  • Commitment to lantern retrieval and water cleanup

This comprehensive package ensures an enriching experience, blending fun, creativity, and environmental responsibility.

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An image inspired from the Colorado Water Lantern Festival

Weather and What to Wear

July in Thornton, Colorado, presents an idyllic backdrop for the Colorado Water Lantern Festival, with warm summer temperatures that enhance the event’s allure. Daytime highs typically hover around the mid-80s°F (around 30°C), while evenings can cool down to the low-60s°F (about 15°C). This pleasant weather ensures a comfortable environment for festival-goers as they partake in the evening’s festivities, surrounded by the gentle glow of lanterns on water.

To fully enjoy the festival’s outdoor setting and the varied activities, here are some clothing recommendations:

  • Light, breathable clothing to stay comfortable during the warm daytime hours.
  • A sweater or light jacket for the cooler evening temperatures.
  • Comfortable walking shoes for exploring the festival grounds.
  • Optional: A hat and sunglasses for added sun protection during the early part of the event.

Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby

For those attending the Colorado Water Lantern Festival and looking for nearby accommodations, Thornton, Colorado, offers a variety of hotels to ensure a comfortable stay.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Denver – Thornton

  • Location: 83 E 120th Ave, Thornton, CO 80233, United States
  • Description: This 4-star hotel combines comfort with convenience, featuring modern rooms and easy access to local attractions.
  • Amenities:
    • Free parking for guests
    • Indoor pool for relaxation
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi in all rooms
    • On-site restaurant serving a variety of dishes

Baymont by Wyndham Thornton

  • Location: 243 E 120th Ave, Thornton, CO 80233, United States
  • Description: A cozy 3-star hotel that offers a welcoming atmosphere and is perfect for budget-conscious travelers.
  • Amenities:
    • Complimentary parking available
    • Free breakfast to start your day
    • Indoor pool for leisure and relaxation
    • Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel

HomeTowne Studios Denver – Thornton

  • Location: 8750 Grant St, Thornton, CO 80229, United States
  • Description: This 2-star hotel provides essential amenities and comfortable lodging for those looking for value and convenience.
  • Amenities:
    • Free Wi-Fi to keep you connected
    • Fitness center for health-conscious guests
    • Complimentary parking for vehicles

Where to Eat

Exploring the dining options in Thornton, Colorado, adds a flavorful dimension to your visit, especially when attending the Colorado Water Lantern Festival. Here’s a taste of what’s nearby:

Olive Garden Italian Restaurant

  • Location: 1151 E 120th Ave, Thornton, CO 80233, United States
  • Description: A family-friendly chain known for its classic Italian dishes in a welcoming atmosphere. Olive Garden is a go-to for hearty pastas, fresh salads, and a variety of vegetarian options.
  • Foods Served:
    • Wide range of pastas and Italian specialties
    • Vegetarian dishes available
    • Signature cocktails and a selection of wines

Outback Steakhouse

  • Location: 497 E 120th Ave, Thornton, CO 80233, United States
  • Description: An Australian-themed steakhouse chain that’s perfect for meat lovers, offering a robust menu of steaks, seafood, and other hearty fare in a casual setting.
  • Foods Served:
    • Premium steaks and seafood
    • Happy hour specials and vegetarian options

Old Chicago Pizza + Taproom

  • Location: 10180 Grant St, Thornton, CO 80233, United States
  • Description: This restaurant combines the love for pizza with a vast beer selection, making it a favorite for both casual diners and sports fans. Old Chicago offers a variety of Italian entrees, happy hour specials, and is known for its lively atmosphere.
  • Foods Served:
    • Handcrafted pizzas and Italian entrees
    • Happy hour favorites and an extensive cocktail menu

More Things to Do in the Area

While in Thornton for the Colorado Water Lantern Festival, there are numerous attractions in the area that offer a range of activities for further exploration and enjoyment.

Carpenter Park

  • Location: 3498 E 112th Ave, Thornton, CO 80233, United States
  • Description: Beyond hosting the enchanting lantern festival, Carpenter Park offers a plethora of year-round activities with its well-equipped facilities.
  • Activities to Explore:
    • Enjoy performances at the amphitheater
    • Take a ride on the charming carousel
    • Engage in water activities at the boat house
    • Kids can have fun in the playground
    • Skate enthusiasts can check out the skate park
    • Various sports facilities are available for active visitors

Denver Botanic Gardens

  • Location: 1007 York St, Denver, CO 80206, United States
  • Description: A short drive from Thornton, the Denver Botanic Gardens offer a serene escape with a vast array of plants, theme gardens, and a conservatory, set in a beautifully landscaped 23-acre park.
  • Activities to Explore:
    • Wander through various theme gardens and the conservatory
    • Attend summer concerts in the sunken amphitheater
    • Participate in educational programs and special events

Haunted Field of Screams

  • Location: 10451 McKay Rd, Thornton, CO 80233, United States
  • Description: For thrill-seekers, the Haunted Field of Screams presents a spine-tingling adventure as Colorado’s largest haunted attraction, promising new levels of terror each year.
  • Activities to Explore:
    • Experience the intense scares of the haunted fields
    • Enjoy the chilling atmosphere with friends
    • Participate in seasonal events that elevate the horror experience

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

The Colorado Water Lantern Festival in Thornton stands out as a beacon of light, unity, and hope, drawing families and friends together for an unforgettable evening. Set against the picturesque backdrop of Carpenter Park, the festival offers a tapestry of activities, from lantern designing to a mesmerizing lantern launch on the water.

 With the warm July weather, vibrant food scene, and array of local attractions, Thornton provides the perfect setting for this luminous celebration. It’s an experience that illuminates the night and warms the heart, leaving lasting memories for all who partake.


Is parking available at the Colorado Water Lantern Festival?

Parking is available at Carpenter Park for festival attendees. It is advised to arrive early as parking spaces may become limited due to the event’s popularity.

Can attendees bring their own food and drinks to the festival?

Attendees are permitted to bring their own food to the festival. However, the introduction of alcoholic beverages into the park is strictly prohibited.

Is the festival pet-friendly?

Pets are welcome at the festival, provided they are kept on a leash at all times and owners take responsibility for cleaning up after them.

Are there any restrictions on items that can be brought to the festival?

To ensure the safety and enjoyment of all, large coolers, alcohol, and fireworks are not allowed. Chairs and blankets are recommended for comfortable seating.

Is smoking allowed at the festival?

Smoking is not permitted within Carpenter Park, maintaining a smoke-free environment for all attendees.

What happens if it rains on the day of the festival?

The festival will proceed rain or shine. In the event of severe weather, updates regarding any changes to the festival schedule will be communicated through the official website and social media channels.

Are there restroom facilities available at the festival?

Restroom facilities are readily available within Carpenter Park for the convenience of festival attendees.

Can individuals volunteer at the Colorado Water Lantern Festival?

The festival welcomes volunteers to contribute to the event’s success. Those interested in volunteering can find more information and sign up options on the official festival website.

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An image inspired by the Colorado Water Lantern Festival


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