BENSON — Based on success of the inaugural Lantern Festival, event organizers look for Saturday’s event to top last year’s in both numbers and sparkle.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, Sept. 7, for the second annual City of Benson Lantern Festival on the driving range grounds at San Pedro Golf Course, 924 N. Madison St.

Cooling September evening temperatures, parlayed against the wide-open San Pedro Valley night skies, should make for a memorable evening, event organizers say.

Traditional for centuries in Asian countries and cultures, the lantern festivals — participants simultaneously release lit lanterns against a night-sky canvas — offering an awe-inspiring spectacle, past participants noted.

“Get ready for a fun-filled time with the family! Mark milestones, set goals, celebrate the life of a loved one, or send up a prayer as we light our lanterns and watch this spectacular event!,” state’s the city’s promotion.

Businesses and residents have been quick to embrace and throw their support behind the festival, evidenced by the larger number of sponsorships which includes the San Pedro Valley News-Sun.

The event, which will also feature music and vendors, runs from 4 to 8 p.m., when the lighted lanterns are to be released. Gates open at 3 p.m.

Some 800 lanterns were set off during last year’s inaugural event and featured close to 3,000 attendees, prompting Mayor Toney King to describe the event and turnout as “amazing.”

Tickets are currently on sale, visit the city’s website. The event also features an “amazing kid zone” for boys and girls 5 and under. Admission without a lantern is $15 per person. Lanterns are $25 and includes admission for two and kid zone admission. Tickets costs increase at the gate. Outside food, drink or pets not permitted.

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