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Flushing Meadows Corona Park hosting Water Lantern Fest, volunteer clean-up with cast of ‘Wicked’ this weekend

Jul. 5, 2023 By Bill Parry

Flushing Meadows Corona Park is hosting two unique events this weekend.

On Saturday, July 8, the Water Lantern Festival will illuminate the night sky with the launch of hundreds of personalized lanterns carrying messages of hope, love, happiness, peace and connection on the Fountain of the Planets, the 6.5-acre lake at the far east end of the park. The fountain stood at the entrance of the Pool of Industry exhibit at the 1964 World’s Fair.

Organizers hope to bring together people of all ages and backgrounds to share the spiritually uplifting event during the evening which includes food trucks, games and activities, local vendors, great music and the beauty of thousands of paper lanterns lighting the waters.

A Water Lantern Festival will be held Saturday evening at the Fountain of the Planets.Courtesy of Water Lantern Festival

“The Water Fountain Festival offers a beautiful way to express your hopes, dreams and aspirations,” Water Lantern Festival Event Director Nate Sorenson said. “It’s an evening that will stay with you long after it’s over.”

Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and participants can make their personalized lanterns beginning at 8 p.m., with the launch set for 8:30 p.m.

“This event is unique because it can cater to so many different people,” Sorenson said. “We have some participants that are celebrating their favorite team while others are there to remember a lost loved one. We are able to bring everyone together to celebrate life, love, unity, peace and remembrance and create a memorable night for everyone there.”

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On Sunday, July 9, volunteers and stewards of Flushing Meadows Corona Park can join members of the cast and crew of the Broadway musical “Wicked” for a clean-up event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Mayor Eric Adams announced the volunteer event series during a kickoff in Times Square last month and the first event was held at Riverside Park in Manhattan on June 22. Flushing Meadows Corona Park is the next location for the series which is expected to engage an estimated 600 volunteers.

Mayor Eric Adams joins cast members of Wicked during the kickoff event in Times Square.Photo by Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks

“This exciting volunteer initiative brings together two giants of New York City — Broadway and NYC Parks,” Adams said. It’s just one of the ways that we’re going to make giving back even more fun and rewarding – because no good deed should go uncelebrated.”

Through its Let’s Green NYC initiative, Parks is building on its long legacy of volunteerism and public-private partnerships with groups who actively care for greenspaces to make it easier and more fun for everyone to beautify their parks, connect with fellow New Yorkers, and build stronger neighborhoods.

“Volunteering in a city park brings you closer to nature and to your fellow New Yorkers—and now, it can bring you closer to Broadway stars,” NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue said. “We might not be the Emerald City, but with park volunteering events in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, NYC is teeming with opportunities to get involved in our shared greenspaces. This initiative shows New Yorkers that, when it comes to greening our city, together we’re unlimited. Join us for Let’s Green NYC and be part of something wonderful.”

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