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Summer Festival Magic: Decorating for Community Festivals

"I am that merry wanderer of the night."
—Puck, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Festival Every Night...

Festival of Lights, New Plymouth, New Zealand.jpg
"Festival of Lights, New Plymouth, New Zealand" by JiaEnzed - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Summer is the time when people enjoy the magic of outdoor festivals. It’s been said that there are so many festivals in this season that a person could easily wander his state and hit a festival every night from June 1st to September 1st. Most communities have their share of art festivals, wine festivals, community concerts in the park, and food festivals. But there are some that are noteworthy.

Some festivals are extraordinary enough that they’ve made it to the list of top festivals to attend: the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado, the Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival in Seattle (with music, theatre, visual arts, and comedy), the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, and the Film on the Rocks Festival in Denver (at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre where you can watch the sun set over the Rockies and then take in a film).

There are also great food festivals, favored by foodies: the National Cherry Festival (Traverse City, MI), the Taste of Chicago Food Festival, the Vermont Cheese Makers Festival, the Austin Ice Cream Festival, the Maine Lobster Festival, the Gilroy Garlic Festival (Gilroy, CA), and even the Truckeroo Food Truck Festival (Washington, DC).

Festival of Light 2013 in Wilanow (8510366557)
By Guillaume Speurt from Vilnius, Lithuania [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Other festivals are more adventurous, geared for folks who want something beyond food and music. Some of the best are: Albuquerque’s International Balloon Festival, the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, the Wisconsin State Polka Festival, the Pyrotechnic Festival in Mexico, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Fest.

Simply put, festivals—whether music, food, or adventure—are a feast of fun.

But, what if you’re the one planning the festival? Not as much fun as festival hopping. Planning involves key steps like conducting market research, selecting a theme, finding vendors, auditioning entertainment, securing event grounds, arranging parking and shuttles, and obtaining equipment. You better be sure to get the necessary permits, licenses, and insurance, too.

Another important element for planning a festival is the decorating—but that part can be really fun.

Decorating for Outdoor Festivals

2009-10-23 - Festival of Lights - Unter den Linden
By Michael F. Mehnert (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Base the decorations around your theme. Certainly, make use of balloons, paper globes, paper ornaments, and paper swirls, but utilize LED lights to make the decorations spectacular. Most summer festivals continue after dusk into the night. Decorating with LED lights not only adds to the magical ambiance, it adds visibility and safety for those attending.

You can be creative with lights and make:

  • Hula hoop “chandeliers” that have lights wound about the hoops
  • Origami lanterns with lights inside
  • Egg carton flowers with lights inserted into the flowers
  • Burlap twined with lights and draped from the bandstand, fence, or bridge

Use LED lighting to decorate high and low:

  • In trees or bushes
  • Rope lighting in the garden area
  • Along a path
  • On a bridge
  • Traversing fountains
  • Along canopy tops, pavilions, or towers
  • Around signs

Different types of lights and color combinations suit different festivals. Large bulb lights work well for disco or polka festivals. Cascading LED Tube Lights look like a meteor shower. LED Spheres, available in all colors, resemble starlight globes and can be hung from trees and bushes. LED Rope Lights are available in many colors are work well around garden area and along a path. LED Bulbs (S-14/A15 bulbs) with heavy duty socket wire are perfect for summer festivals. LED Retrofit Bulbs in the G series (G30, G40, and G50) are also excellent choices if you already have C7 or C9 socket wire. Commercial Grade LED Lights will last through many festivals to come.

If you want your festival to be spectacular enough to make “the” list (or make someone’s list) try decorating your festival with LED Lights.