by David Koon
6 p.m. Wildwood Park for the Arts. $10.
I was a kid from the sticks in my youth, back in the dim days before Internetin' and textin' and X-Boxin' and all the other bleep-bloop-bleeping that keeps modern young whippersnappers indoors and pasty. In my day, our nighttime entertainment was going outside!
In the dark! And if you got snake bit or bear mauled or went temporarily blind from shoddy moonshine likker, you just rolled with it. These days, as a city dweller, I recall fondly those days of tromping the moonlight. But you don't have to be a "Gran Torino"-grade old fart like me to enjoy the nightlife, and the Lanterns! Festival at Wildwood Park sure makes the dark a lot more pretty than my daddy's Army flashlight. The festival, which is scheduled to coincide with the first full moon of the lunar new year, kicks off Friday night and runs through Sunday.
One of Arkansas's only festivals made to be best enjoyed after dark, the Lanterns! Festival allows visitors to walk the trails of Wildwood Park for the Arts by the glow of beautiful, flickering displays of fire and light built around a series of cultural themes. This year's themes include the Caribbean, Germany, New Orleans, Shakespeare's England, Venice and Rio De Janerio, with international foods and beverages available for purchase.
Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 6-12, and kids 5 and under get in free.