Jacksonville Water Lantern Festival – A Lighting Event to See


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Festival highlights

Welcome to the enchanting realm of glowing water lanterns, community spirit, and a whole lot of fun-filled activities. This is the Jacksonville Water Lantern Festival. Join us in exploring this mesmerizing event that will warm your hearts.

jacksonville water lantern main

About the Jacksonville Water Lantern Festival

The Jacksonville Water Lantern Festival is a captivating event where the night sky is lit by floating lanterns gently set adrift on the water. Inspired by traditional Asian water lantern festivals, these lanterns carry deep significance, symbolizing both the remembrance of departed loved ones and the dreams and aspirations of the participants.

The festival is a joyous celebration of community, peace,hope, and love, featuring an array of live music performances, diverse food truck offerings, and engaging activities like lantern designing. It’s the perfect venue for families and friends to gather, forging unforgettable memories in a magical setting.

Festival Dates (2024)

The much-anticipated lantern festival is scheduled to illuminate the evening of November 2, 2024, promising an atmosphere brimming with warmth and memorable moments. This carefully selected date provides the perfect occasion for attendees to honor cherished memories of loved ones, rekindle friendships, and establish new connections in a setting of shared light and hope. 

With its profound blend of personal reflection and communal celebration, the Jacksonville Water Lantern Festival stands out as a deeply moving experience that is truly not to be missed.

jacksonville water lantern 1
An image inspired by the Jacksonville Water Lantern Festival

Where It’s Located and How to Get There

The Jacksonville Water Lantern Festival will be held at the scenic Dupree Park, located at 1700 S Redmond Rd, Jacksonville, Arkansas, USA

Nestled in the heart of Jacksonville, this park provides a picturesque setting for the festival, with its ample green spaces and serene lake setting the perfect stage for the lanterns to be set adrift as the evening falls. 

The location is easily accessible, making it a convenient gathering spot for both locals and visitors looking to experience the magical atmosphere of the festival.

The nearest airport to Dupree Park is the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas. From there, visitors have several options for reaching the festival location:

  • Taxi: A direct taxi ride from the airport to Dupree Park is the quickest and most convenient way to get to the festival. The journey typically takes about 20 minutes.
  • Ride-Sharing Services: Services like Uber and Lyft operate in the area, offering easy and flexible transportation from the airport directly to the park.
  • Public Transit: For those preferring public transportation, the Rock Region Metro offers bus services that connect the airport to various parts of Jacksonville, including near Dupree Park.

For those traveling from other cities by train, here’s how you can reach the Jacksonville Water Lantern Festival:

–Arrive at Little Rock Union Station: Most train services will bring you into Little Rock Union Station.

–From Little Rock Union Station to Dupree Park:

  • Bus: Catch a bus from nearby the station that heads towards Jacksonville. Check local transit websites for specific routes and times.
  • Taxi or Ride-Sharing: Alternatively, a taxi or a ride-sharing service can be taken directly from the train station to Dupree Park, which is a more direct but pricier option.

–Car Rental: Renting a car from the train station is a good choice if you prefer to drive yourself. This gives you the flexibility to explore Jacksonville at your own pace before or after enjoying the festival.

If you liked this festival, you can also check out these other captivating lantern festivals:

Portland Water Lantern Festival

Omaha Water Lantern Festival

Festival Hours

The enchanting water lantern festival offers an inviting schedule from 3:30 PM to 7:30 PM, allowing participants plenty of time to immerse themselves in a range of delightful activities and create lasting memories. As soon as the gates open at 3:30 PM, attendees will step into an captivating atmosphere filled with music, an array of food trucks, and a host of engaging activities suitable for all ages.

The highlight of the festival, the launching of the water lanterns, is set to occur between 6:30 PM and 7:30 PM. This serene hour promises a deeply moving experience as participants watch their lanterns glide across the water, each light carrying personal hopes and memories into the evening twilight.

How Much Does It Cost to Attend the Jacksonville Water Lantern Festival

If you’re planning to attend the enchanting Jacksonville Water Lantern Festival, purchasing tickets in advance is a smart move. Adult tickets are most affordable at $35.99 until October 25; after this date, they increase to $45.99 until November 1. On the day of the event, November 2, the cost for adult tickets will escalate to $55.99.

Youth tickets for those aged 8-14 are priced at just $13.70, and children under 7 can join in the fun for free, although they do not receive a lantern kit. 

The Date Night Special offers great value at $71.11, including two adult tickets with protections, wristbands, lantern kits, and several other goodies to enhance the experience for couples. This package, along with all ticket purchases, helps cover the essential services of lantern retrieval and ensuring the cleanliness of the water post-festival.

jacksonville water lantern 2
An image inspired from the Jacksonville Water Lantern Festival

Weather and What to Wear

November in Jacksonville, Arkansas, brings cool and crisp autumn weather, ideal for outdoor evening events like the Water Lantern Festival. 

Temperatures typically range from the low 40s to mid-60s Fahrenheit (about 4°C to 18°C), providing a refreshing backdrop for the festival’s magical atmosphere. While the days can be mildly warm, evenings tend to feel quite chilly, especially as the sun sets.

For those planning to attend the festival, dressing appropriately will enhance your comfort and enjoyment of the event. Here are some recommended clothing options:

  • Warm Layers: A cozy sweater or a fleece jacket is essential to stay warm as the temperatures drop in the evening.
  • Comfortable Footwear: Opt for sturdy shoes or boots, as you’ll likely be walking on grassy and possibly damp areas of the park.
  • Accessories: Bring along a scarf and gloves to keep warm during the cooler nighttime hours.
  • Waterproof Outer Layer: A light rain jacket or poncho is wise to have on hand, just in case you encounter an unexpected drizzle.
  • Hat: A beanie or a warm hat will help retain body heat as most of it is lost through your head in cold weather.

Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby

For those planning to stay overnight after enjoying the Jacksonville Water Lantern Festival, there are several comfortable and convenient hotel options nearby:

Super 8 by Wyndham Jacksonville AR

  • Location: 1850 John Harden Dr, Jacksonville, AR 72076, United States
  • Description: This budget-friendly hotel offers a cozy stay with an indoor pool, perfect for relaxing after a day at the festival.
  • Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, indoor pool, complimentary breakfast, and free parking.

Best Western Jacksonville Inn

  • Location: 1600 John Harden Dr, Jacksonville, AR 72076, United States
  • Description: Positioned close to local attractions, this hotel provides comfortable accommodations with easy access to the festival site.
  • Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, outdoor pool, complimentary breakfast, and free parking.

Jacksonville Inn

  • Location: 200 T P White Dr, Jacksonville, AR 72076, United States
  • Description: A comfortable 2-star hotel offering essential amenities and easy access to local attractions.
  • Amenities: Free parking, free Wi-Fi, access to a nearby golf course, air-conditioned rooms.

Where to Eat – Restaurants Nearby

After enjoying the festivities, you might find yourself hungry for some local flavors. Here are some great dining options near the Jacksonville Water Lantern Festival:

Waffle House

  • Location: 116 Marshall Rd, Jacksonville, AR 72076, United States
  • Description: A chain spot known for its classic American diner fare and breakfast options.
  • Foods Served: Signature waffles, cheeseburgers, cheesesteaks, and chicken melts, with a kids’ menu available.

Roma Italian Restaurant

  • Location: 2126 N 1st St, Jacksonville, AR 72076, United States; Located in the EXPO CENTER
  • Description: A cozy Italian restaurant offering a variety of vegetarian dishes along with traditional Italian fare.
  • Foods Served: A selection of pizzas, baked pasta dishes, and chicken margarita, complemented by a kids’ menu.

Chili’s Grill & Bar

  • Location: 1800 W Main St, Jacksonville, AR 72076, United States
  • Description: A family-friendly chain that serves classic Tex-Mex and American dishes.
  • Foods Served: Classic ribeye, cajun pasta, and classic sirloin, along with happy hour specials and great cocktails.

More Things to Do in the Area

Exploring Jacksonville doesn’t end with the Water Lantern Festival; the area is bustling with additional attractions that cater to a variety of interests and ages. Here are some great places to visit:

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Splash Zone

  • Location: 201 W Martin St, Jacksonville, AR 72076, United States; Located in Pleasure Park
  • Description: A vibrant public swimming pool complex featuring three pools, thrilling water slides, a water tunnel, and unique showers designed like an umbrella.
  • Activities: Enjoy a refreshing dip in the pools, slide down exciting water slides, or relax under novelty showers.

Jacksonville Museum of Military History

  • Location: 100 Veterans Circle, Jacksonville, AR 72076, United States
  • Description: A museum dedicated to military history with a rich collection of exhibits, artifacts, and wartime replicas that offer a glimpse into the past.
  • Activities: Explore educational exhibits, view authentic military artifacts, and learn about the historical significance of various military events.

The Old Mill

  • Location: 3800 Lakeshore Dr, North Little Rock, AR 72116, United States
  • Description: A picturesque historical landmark known for its appearance in the opening scenes of “Gone with the Wind.”
  • Activities: Walk through the beautiful gardens, take photos of the scenic views, and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of this well-preserved mill.

An Illuminating Conclusion: Final Words on Jacksonville Water Lantern Festival

The Jacksonville Water Lantern Festival promises an enchanting display of lights that gracefully float across the water, symbolizing unity, dreams, and remembrance. This spectacular event is set to not only brighten the night sky but also warm the hearts of all who attend, creating a profound sense of community and togetherness.

If you’re looking for a magical evening filled with the glow of lanterns and the melody of live music, make plans to join this memorable festival. Gather your friends and family and head to Jacksonville for an extraordinary experience that awaits you, certain to be one of the highlights of your year.


Is there parking available at the festival?

Yes, free parking is available on-site.

Can I bring my pet to the festival?

Pets are not allowed at the festival to ensure a safe environment for all attendees.

Are food and drinks allowed at the festival?

Yes, you are welcome to bring your own food and drinks.

Is smoking permitted at the festival?

Smoking is not permitted to ensure a pleasant experience for all attendees.

Can I bring my own lantern to the festival?

Only lanterns provided at the festival are allowed for safety and environmental reasons.

What should I wear to the festival?

Dress in warm layers as evenings can be cool, and wear comfortable footwear.

Are there restrooms available at the festival?

Yes, there are ample restroom facilities available on-site.

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

The festival will proceed in light rain; in the event of heavy rain, check the festival’s official website for updates or potential rescheduling.

Sources: https://www.waterlanternfestival.com/littlerock.php 


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