Light City festival illuminates downtown Baltimore
A Ferris wheel lights up the night in downtown Baltimore. Photo by Austin Dickey.

Light City festival illuminates downtown Baltimore

Bright lights dance on the water of the Inner Harbor, smiling faces travel in packs and performers sing and dance their hearts out. The city is electric … literally. The Light City Baltimore festival returned this past week for its annual celebration and is captivating both tourists and locals with colorful lights, rocking concerts and great food.

Dubbed as the nation’s only large-scale international light and ideas festival, Light City serves as a melting pot of culture with art, music and innovation all on display. Considering the city’s proud history in music and arts, Baltimore served as the perfect location.

The festival went beyond simply bright colors, with innovation labs scheduled throughout the week, each set to educate visitors with a different and unique topic. Visions of health, art and a sustainable future were just a few of the types of labs the festival offered, and there were even multiple youth labs which were specifically tailored to engage the youth in the future of the world around them. The mixture of entertainment and education made learning fun and was a pleasant aspect of an event predominantly known for its aesthetic qualities.

Light City was also loaded with performers from local musicians to hula hoop dancers, so there was never a dull moment. The surrounding displays made for the perfect backdrop as well, shining on the artists and giving the entire stage an upbeat mood. Everyone seemed to be genuinely proud to be a part of the event, sharing smiles that had Baltimore pride written all over them.

Considering there are different events and concerts every day, it is impossible to truly experience the entire festival in one day. Nonetheless, even one trip can be filled with amazing sights. The electric lights colored the streets and excited kids ran from display to display as if they had just found the best playground in the world.

While the festival may not receive much national attention, the extravagant sights and sounds provide a great experience for locals who get to see their city from a new perspective.This city-wide face-lift was Baltimore’s opportunity to glamour up and abandon its traditional concrete jungle look. Modeling a flashy outfit of multi-colored lights, the festival acted as prom for the city streets, allowing them to have character and beauty before having to return to the busy and hardworking city that it is.

Bikes, tunnels and even surrounding office buildings adorned the festival’s blue, pink and green color scheme, showing how much energy was put into setting up such an event. There was even a Ferris wheel that provided a bird’s eye view of the joyous celebration and food trucks waited nearby, giving a contemporary carnival vibe. It was apparent that no rock was left unturned in planning this event, and the diligence paid off.

Light City Baltimore 2018 was one for the ages, thus reminding visitors why Baltimore is one of the most creative cities in the United States. The performers, displays and even the crowd contributed towards making this year’s celebration memorable, making next year’s festival a must-see.