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Duluth Sky Lantern

Duluth Sky Lantern

On Christmas Day, my wife and I traveled up to Duluth from Minneapolis to walk through and photograph the amazing holiday lights display at “Bentleyville Tour of Lights” set up in Duluth’s Bayfront Park.  We stopped first at Enger Tower on the bluff overlooking the city to get a few panoramic photos of the light display and lift bridge.

A few people came and went while we were there, including two–Theresa & David–who brought with them a Chinese Sky Lantern.  They were kind enough to answer a few questions and allowed me to take a few photos of them lighting the lantern and setting it aloft.

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Theresa and David have lived in Duluth for almost 8 years.   It’s perfect for them, Theresa indicates, because they can be out skiing, hiking, canoeing, swimming or dancing downtown within minutes. Or launching a sky lantern from atop the city at Enger Tower!   Duluth is small enough to quickly navigate, deciding to see a movie, play or attend a gallery opening literally minutes before it begins and not miss a thing.  Theresa is quick to praise the city, she says it’s a place with a conscious, willing to be reflective of its history, consider its present and forge a future.

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Sky Lanterns can trace their origins to China where they have been made for centuries, traditionally used as part of cultural festivities or just for  fun.  Also known as Chinese lanterns, wish lanterns and Kongming lanterns,  they are typically constructed of lightweight, biodegradable tissue paper on a bamboo frame with a small wax fuel cell suspended in the middle.  Just light the wax fuel cell and the lantern fills with hot air, causing it to rise gently into the night sky, as Theresa and David demonstrate.

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While sky lanterns continue to be popular in Asia, these days they are used by people around the world–including, apparently, in Duluth, Minnesota!

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According to information available on the Internet, sky lanterns can travel a great distance before gently making their descent after the fuel cell has burned out.  Many vendors advertise that their lanterns are made of flame resistant biodegradable tissue paper with a bamboo ring making them environmentally friendly.

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The shot above shows the lantern about 40 feet above us, as it floated up and away.  We lost sight of it when it passed into some low hanging clouds.

We appreciated spending some time with David and Theresa on Christmas day and wish them well !

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