Lantern festival at Pinal County fairgounds goes off without a hitch

’It definitely has everything they promised’

Lantern Festival at Pinal Fairgrounds

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Lanterns finally took flight in southern Arizona on Saturday night, Nov. 2.

This one was put on by a different company than the one that tried to organize one in Tucson in October.

The company Night Lights was founded by Spencer Humiston in 2018. So far in 2019, he has hosted 19 events across the United States, the most recent and final one of the season at the Pinal County fairgrounds.

“We’re in Spokane, in Salt Lake City, outside New York City. Most of the metro areas outside the US," Humiston said.

If the company name sounds familiar, it’s because it’s very close to the name of a company who tried to put on a lantern festival in Tucson.

“Light the Night” events, managed by Event Manager Dalton York, first attempted to host an event in June. It was rescheduled to August, then to October, and now with no new date.

Read more about KOLD News 13’s reports on the Light the Night festival HERE.

Thousands of people packed the fairgrounds to see the lanterns, several from Tucson who had heard about the controversy surrounding the other festival.

Lantern Festival Pinal Fairgrounds
Lantern Festival Pinal Fairgrounds (Source: Karly Tinsley)

“This one definitely has everything they promised," said Brittany Taylor, a Tucson resident. Taylor said she had been hearing about the Light the Night event that has yet to happen. "I always see that it always gets canceled or postponed and never rescheduled.”

Taylor said the confusion over that event crossed over to the Night Lights event, with many questioning its authenticity.

“I feel like this event has gotten backlash because the lantern fest in Tucson,” Taylor said.

People’s uncertainty popped up on Humiston’s radar several weeks ago, which is why he wanted to extend an offer to all those effected.

“I kind of became aware of some issues with some other events in the area and kind of wanted to reach out to people who felt like they paid for their tickets but weren’t able to have their event. I wanted to give them a chance to get hooked up with relatively inexpensive ticket to our event," Humiston said.

It’s no simple task to put on this event. Humiston said this one took nine months of preparation to gather the permits, and arrange things with police and fire. And it also all came down to Mother Nature’s cooperation.

“Anytime, even during today, if it gets to the point where we can’t do it because a thunderstorm rolls in or the wind, then we offer everybody a chance to come out to the make up event," said Humiston.

Despite the challenges it takes to get this event off the ground, it still happened. And the questions or controversy he had to deal with prior to Saturday are now fading off into the distance.

“It’s just a really cool event that brings across just an incredibly diverse demographic and I’m very proud that we do it. I think people have a really good time," Humiston said.

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