Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Gardens

SO I shall now tell the tale of ‘That time I tried to go to the Lantern Festival and it didn’t work out.’

My parents and I met up to celebrate my birthday a week early, Sunday August 9th. They took me out to dinner in ‘The Grove’ of downtown St. Louis–a colorful neighborhood frequented by the LGBT community so that it’s now known as the ‘Mangrove.’ The restaurant we ate at was called Sweetie Pies, and it was filled with delicious southern comfort food.

The intent was to then go to the spectacular Chinese Lantern Festival. Indeed, when we got to the Missouri Botanical Gardens, all was well. It was a hot, humid evening but there was sun and it was bright and we were there early. Normally, the gardens close at 5pm, but for the special event they re-opened the gates at 6pm, and had acrobat shows at 6:30pm and 7:30pm in one of the pavilions. We leisurely made our way to see the 7:30 show, and seated ourselves on the grass.

Then, the wind picked up.

About five minutes before the show the thunder started in earnest, and we were told to head back inside and the acrobats would perform in the indoor theatre while we waited for the storm to hopefully pass. I raced across the entire gardens to get to the theatre quick so we’d still have good seats, but I scraped my feet pretty raw in my fancy, not-meant-for running shoes. However, it ended up being worth it.

I sat down in the second row, leaving the first row open for kids. Not long after I sat in the center of the second row, though, the gardens staff started clearing the first row since it was too close to the performers, so suddenly I was in the exact center of the NEW first row. It rocked! I got to see the performance close, and shake hands with the mask-changer. Good times all around~

The storm was still causing havoc outside, however, and there wasn’t really enough space in the glass building for the hundreds of sad, lantern-less people…so we stayed in the theatre for a good hour after the performance until the gardens made an announcement that they were closing due to inclement weather. I got some cool video of said inclement weather lighting the sky over the lanterns, and then we left.

BUT I did receive a voucher for a rain-out ticket, which I made good use of later….



SO I shall now tell the tale of ‘That time I tried to go to the Lantern Festival and it DID work out.’

No thunderstorms in this version!

This time I went with Ryn, using the rain-out ticket I got from the last version. We ran a little late, but managed to get in and get good seats (on the grass) to watch the acrobat show the way it was MEANT to be seen! This was exciting, as it turned out they had a fire breather. He came out during the mask-changer’s performance, which shocked me a bit since he had decidedly NOT come out when I watched the show inside—for very good reasons, I imagine.

Ryn and I both really enjoyed the show, and then took the rest of the night to tour the gardens and get some delightful pictures. There were some vendors there selling neat embroidery paintings, and since it was approaching the final day we got a decent deal.

Pictures were hard due to the crowds. We had chosen a Monday because I’d been told it was the least populated night, but maybe this was a special Monday because there were a TON of people there! It let me get in lots of practice with my new camera, in that I had to wait really carefully to get a shot with no one in it. BUT the displays were interesting, and the gardens itself is a treat…and actually some of my favorite shots were ones that didn’t even feature the lanterns.

Still, the festival was gorgeous and I did pick up some neat facts about Chinese legends that I had not previously known. Totally worth the re-trip!!