Kansas City Lantern Festival – A Lighting Event You Can’t Miss


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Welcome to the luminous Kansas City Lantern Festival – a celebration of togetherness, fun, and lights. Join us in this unforgettable journey of dreams, hopes, and glowing lanterns in the Missouri sky.

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Festival highlights

About the Kansas City Lantern Festival

The Kansas City Lantern Festival is a breathtaking event that brings the beauty of Asian sky lantern traditions to the heart of Missouri. It’s a festival of lights that celebrates community, peace, love, and hope, illuminating the night with thousands of floating lanterns that carry the dreams and aspirations of its attendees. This unique experience is further enriched with interactive games, musical performances, and opportunities for attendees to design their own lanterns, fostering a sense of creativity and unity.

From the laughter and joy of interactive games to the soothing melodies of live music, the festival offers something for everyone. Attendees not only witness the captivating spectacle of sky lanterns ascending into the night but also participate in a celebration of life’s most cherished values. 

All in all, the Kansas City Lantern Festival stands as a celebration of lights and dreams, inviting all to embrace the spirit of togetherness and look forward to a brighter future.

Festival Dates (2024)

The Kansas City Lantern Festival is set to cast its glow on April 20, 2024, transforming the night into a spectacle of light and color. This singular event invites one and all to partake in an evening that celebrates unity, dreams, and the radiant spirit of community. It’s a night where the sky becomes a canvas for the aspirations of thousands, each lantern floating higher with hopes and wishes.

This festival of lights, with its deep-rooted traditions and modern interpretations, promises a memorable experience on this chosen date. As lanterns rise, so does the collective spirit of those gathered, creating an atmosphere of awe and wonder. 

Make sure to be there, as the Kansas City Lantern Festival lights up, not just in the physical sense but also in the hearts of all who join in this communal celebration of light.

Kansas city lantern 1
An image inspired by the Kansas City Lantern Festival

Where It’s Located and How to Get There

An unmissable spectacle, the Kansas City Lantern Festival is set to illuminate the Johnson County Fairgrounds, located at 386 NW 145 Rd, Warrensburg, Missouri, United States. This venue, known for its spacious outdoor areas and welcoming atmosphere, provides the perfect backdrop for the festival’s dazzling displays and community gatherings. Nestled in the heart of Missouri, the fairgrounds offer ample space for the myriad of lanterns to take flight, creating a mesmerizing spectacle against the night sky.

The Johnson County Fairgrounds is conveniently situated approximately 60 miles from Kansas City International Airport (MCI), making it accessible for both local and international visitors. 

To facilitate your journey from the airport to the festival, consider the following transportation options:

  • Rental Car: Numerous agencies offer rental services at the airport, allowing for a direct and flexible route to the fairgrounds.
  • Shuttle Service: Some local hotels provide shuttle services to and from the airport, which can be a convenient option if you’re staying overnight.
  • Taxi or Ride-Sharing: Taxis and ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft are readily available at the airport, offering a hassle-free way to reach the festival location.

For those traveling by train from other cities, here’s a detailed guide to reaching the Kansas City Lantern Festival:

  • From St. Louis: Board an Amtrak train to Lee’s Summit, MO. From Lee’s Summit, you can rent a car or use a ride-sharing service for the remaining 40-mile journey to Warrensburg.
  • From Chicago: Take an Amtrak train with a direct route to Warrensburg. The train station is just a short drive from the Johnson County Fairgrounds, with taxis and ride-sharing options available for the final leg of your trip.
  • From Jefferson City: Amtrak services are available to Sedalia, MO. From Sedalia, the fairgrounds are approximately 30 miles away. You can complete this part of your journey by renting a car or opting for a taxi or ride-sharing service.

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

Full Moon Lantern Festival

Pingxi Lantern Festival

Festival Hours

The festivities at the Kansas City Lantern Festival kick off before sunset, setting the stage for an evening of enchantment and communal joy. This allows attendees ample time to partake in the variety of activities on offer, from interactive games and lantern designing to enjoying live musical performances. As the sun dips below the horizon, anticipation builds for the main event of the evening.

With the arrival of twilight, the festival’s atmosphere shifts to one of awe and wonder as the sky lantern launching ceremony begins. This moment, under the cloak of the evening sky, is when the air fills with light, each lantern carrying a whisper of dreams and wishes upwards. It is a time for reflection, celebration, and shared experiences, marking the highlight of the Kansas City Lantern Festival.

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An image inspired from the Kansas City Lantern Festival

How Much Does It Cost to See the Kansas City Lantern Festival

Securing your spot at the Kansas City Lantern Festival is more rewarding when you take advantage of the early bird discount, offering adult tickets at $48, a savings from the final price of $60. Each adult ticket not only grants entry to this mesmerizing event but also includes a lantern and a marker, provided upon check-in, to personalize your experience. It’s also important to note that tickets are designed for individual use, meaning each person aged 13 and above will need their own adult ticket.

For families attending with young ones, the festival has thoughtfully considered a discounted kids’ ticket for those aged 4-12, which comes with a Fun Kit to keep the little attendees entertained, though it does not include a lantern. These tickets are specially priced to make the festival accessible to families, ensuring that everyone has a chance to enjoy the festivities. 

Children aged 3 and under can join in the fun free of charge, making it an ideal family outing.

For more details on ticket prices, visit the festival’s official website and social media channels.

Weather and What to Wear

April in Warrensburg, Missouri, ushers in the gentle warmth of spring, with weather conditions that are ideal for outdoor festivities like the Kansas City Lantern Festival. During this month, temperatures typically range from a mild low of 45°F (7°C) in the early mornings and late evenings, to a pleasant high of around 67°F (19°C) during the day. This transitional period sees the last of winter’s chill making way for the brighter, longer days of spring, providing a perfect backdrop for the festival’s evening activities.

For those planning to attend the festival, here are some clothing recommendations to ensure comfort and enjoyment throughout the event:

  • Layered Clothing: Opt for light layers that can be easily added or removed as the temperature changes from day to night.
  • Comfortable Footwear: Since the festival involves walking and standing, wear comfortable shoes suitable for navigating outdoor terrains.
  • Light Jacket or Sweater: A must-have for when the temperatures drop after sunset, ensuring you stay warm as you enjoy the lanterns’ glow.
  • Accessories: Consider bringing a hat or sunglasses for daytime activities and a scarf for the evening.
  • Rain Gear: April can be unpredictable, so a light raincoat or an umbrella might come in handy in case of a sudden shower.

Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby

Finding a comfortable place to stay is key to enjoying the Kansas City Lantern Festival to the fullest. Here are some nearby hotels that offer a blend of convenience, comfort, and excellent amenities:

Comfort Inn Warrensburg Station

  • Location: 609 E Russell Ave, Warrensburg, MO 64093, United States
  • Description: This 2-star hotel combines comfort and convenience, ideally situated for festival-goers looking to experience the best of Warrensburg.
  • Amenities:
    • Free Wi-Fi, ensuring guests stay connected.
    • Indoor pool, perfect for relaxation after a day at the festival.
    • Complimentary breakfast, starting each day on a delicious note.

Super 8 by Wyndham Warrensburg

  • Location: 439 Russell Ave, Intersection of Hwy 50 & 13, Warrensburg, MO 64093, United States
  • Description: This 2-star hotel offers comfortable and affordable accommodations, making it an ideal choice for visitors to the Kansas City Lantern Festival. Located conveniently at the intersection of Hwy 50 & 13, guests have easy access to local attractions and the festival site.
  • Amenities:
    • Free Wi-Fi
    • Outdoor Pool
    • Complimentary Breakfast
    • Free Parking

Days Inn by Wyndham Warrensburg

  • Location: 204 E Cleveland St, Warrensburg, MO 64093, United States
  • Description: This 2-star hotel is known for its friendly service and comfortable rooms, making it an excellent choice for festival attendees.
  • Amenities:
    • Free Wi-Fi access throughout the hotel.
    • Complimentary breakfast, offering a variety of choices to suit all tastes.
    • Free parking, ensuring ease of access for guests.

Where to Eat – Restaurants Nearby

Exploring local cuisine is a delightful way to enhance your Kansas City Lantern Festival experience. Here’s where you can indulge in delicious meals and enjoy the warm hospitality Warrensburg has to offer:

Fitter’s Pub

  • Location: 131 W Pine St, Warrensburg, MO 64093, United States
  • Description: A bustling American bar and grill known for its lively atmosphere and comfort food, Fitter’s Pub is the go-to spot for classic American fare.
  • Foods Served:
    • Burgers crafted with care and a variety of toppings.
    • Pizza with a wide range of fresh, flavorful ingredients.
    • Wings, offering a spicy kick or milder flavors to suit every palate.
    • Sandwiches, perfect for a quick and satisfying meal.

Heroes Restaurant & Pub

  • Location: 107 W Pine St, Warrensburg, MO 64093, United States
  • Description: A staple in Warrensburg since 1981, this American restaurant and pub is adorned with memorabilia-covered walls, creating a nostalgic and welcoming vibe.
  • Foods Served:
    • Nachos Grande with fajita chicken, a hearty and flavorful choice.
    • Southwest Egg Rolls, blending a mix of tastes in a crunchy wrapper.
    • A variety of homemade burgers, each offering a unique taste experience.

PLAYERS Restaurant

  • Location: 627 E Russell Ave, Warrensburg, MO 64093, United States
  • Description: Known for its vibrant sports-watching atmosphere, PLAYERS Restaurant serves up a mix of happy hour food, great cocktails, and is a favorite for both locals and visitors.
  • Foods Served:
    • Smoked Salmon, a refined option for the discerning palate.
    • Bone-in Chicken Wings, a classic pub fare with a twist.
    • Spinach Artichoke Dip, a creamy and savory start to any meal.

More Things to Do in the Area

While the Kansas City Lantern Festival is a highlight, Warrensburg, Missouri, offers a variety of other attractions to explore, making your visit even more memorable. Here’s a closer look at some must-visit spots in the area:

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Those Were the Days

  • Location: 138 W Pine St, Warrensburg, MO 64093, United States
  • Description: This charming antique shop in Warrensburg is a treasure trove of nostalgia and unique finds, perfect for those looking to take a piece of history home.
  • Activities to Explore:
    • Browsing an extensive collection of vintage and antique items.
    • Discovering rare and unique collectibles.
    • Enjoying a walk down memory lane through historical memorabilia.

Cave Hollow Park

  • Location: 1001 W Gay St, Warrensburg, MO 64093, United States
  • Description: A serene park in Warrensburg, offering picturesque scenery and a peaceful retreat from the festival’s excitement.
  • Activities to Explore:
    • Hiking along well-maintained trails surrounded by natural beauty.
    • Picnicking in designated areas for a relaxing day out.
    • Exploring the park’s namesake cave and other natural formations.

Revelation Escapes

  • Location: 1118 S Ridgeview Dr, Warrensburg, MO 64093, United States
  • Description: This escape room center in Warrensburg provides an exhilarating challenge for groups looking for an adventure.
  • Activities to Explore:
    • Solving puzzles and finding clues to escape within the time limit.
    • Experiencing themed rooms designed to test your logic and teamwork.
    • Enjoying a fun and interactive group activity that’s perfect for friends and family.

An Illuminating Conclusion: Wrapping Up Your Unforgettable Journey to Kansas City Lantern Festival

The Kansas City Lantern Festival stands out as a radiant celebration of hope, community, and the timeless beauty of light. Set against the scenic backdrop of Warrensburg, Missouri, it invites visitors from all walks of life to partake in a night of enchantment and shared dreams. 

From the moment the first lantern lifts into the starry sky to the final note of music fading into the night, the festival creates memories that linger long after the lights dim. This event is not just a festival; it’s a beacon of unity and joy, illuminating the path to a brighter future for all who attend.


Is parking available at the festival?

Yes, ample parking is available on-site at the Johnson County Fairgrounds for festival attendees. 

Are there any restrictions on smoking at the festival?

The Kansas City Lantern Festival is a smoke-free event to ensure the comfort and safety of all attendees. This includes traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and any other smoking devices.

Can I bring my pet to the festival?

Pets are not allowed at the festival to ensure the safety of all attendees and the animals themselves. Service animals, however, are permitted with proper identification.

What should I do if I lose an item at the festival?

A lost and found area will be set up at the festival’s information booth. If you lose an item, please report it there. After the event, contact the festival organizers through their website or social media.

Is the festival accessible for people with disabilities?

Yes, the festival site is accessible for people with disabilities. There are designated parking areas and accessible restrooms. If you require special accommodations, please contact the festival organizers in advance.

Can I bring my own food and drinks to the festival?

While small snacks and water are allowed, large coolers and alcoholic beverages are not permitted. There are various food and drink vendors on-site offering a wide range of options.

Are there any age restrictions for attending the festival?

The Kansas City Lantern Festival is a family-friendly event suitable for all ages. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

What happens in case of bad weather?

The festival will proceed rain or shine. In the case of severe weather conditions that could pose a risk to safety, the event may be postponed or canceled. Updates will be provided on the festival’s website and social media channels.

Kansas city lantern 3
An image inspired by the Kansas City Lantern Festival

Sources: https://thelightsfest.com/sky-lantern-events/kansas-city/ 


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