Morikami's Lantern Festival is one of the most beautiful and popular events at the Gardens. Obon is the Japanese festival to honor ancestors who are believed to briefly visit the living. It is held in the summer time. But, wait, isn't this a FALL event at Morikami for 2018? Yes. This is why it is only in the "Spirit of Obon" since summers are not the most comfortable times to enjoy an outdoor festival in South Florida. This wonderful evening filled with Japanese traditions is capped off with a floating lantern ceremony followed by fireworks. It is spectacular to behold. There will be children’s activities and field games for the young (and the young at heart!) to enjoy.
Due to it's popularity, there will only be a restricted number of tickets sold and ONLY online. Ticket sales will begin September 18 (member pre-sale) and October 2 (general admission). Tickets will NOT be available at the gate. Tickets are expected to sell out. Children 3 and under are free, otherwise a ticket must be purchased for children as well.
If you would like to purchase Lantern sleeves &/or Tanzaku slips ( only $1 each), be sure to buy them early before the supply runs out. Lantern sleeves are all handmade by volunteers. There will be a shoryobune, a boat for the spirits of the deceased, for you to place your own Tanzaku slips upon. The lanterns, almost 1000 of them, will glow and reflect on the Morikami Lake in a touching tribute to those loved ones who have passed on. Lanterns can only be purchased at the event and cost $12 each (payable by cash or credit).
Enjoy Japanese fried tofu, roasted nuts, and sweet potatoes or good old American street fair food as you stroll about the grounds. The beer garden and sake station will be up and running. Food and beverage tickets can be purchased to buy everything from street foods to food at the Cornell Cafe. They may be purchased using cash or credit card. Traditional Japanese festival games and Moon Viewing will take place as well as ample opportunities to shop.
Lantern Festival features rousing taiko drum performances by Fushu Daiko, kids’ activities [including a mask shop, a variety of games and a build your own guiding light lantern activity] traditional Japanese folk dancing and an all-day ennichi street fair. At the end of the evening, visitors watch hundreds of paper lanterns—each lit by a single candle—dot Morikami Lake, against a sky of fireworks.
On the Matsuri Stage:
Japanese Folk-Dancing 3:45pm | 5:15pm
Taiko Drumming 4:30pm | 6:00pm | 7:00pm
Lantern Floating 7:30pm
Farewell Fireworks 8:00pm