By Helen Zook
September 22, 2014

This fall, thousands of lights will glow in Nevada’s Mojave Desert—and we’re not talking about the neon signs on the Strip. On October 18, the RiSE Lantern Festival will kick off just outside Las Vegas at the Jean Dry Lakebed, forming a visual spectacle of illuminated lanterns, all inscribed with personal messages, floating into the night sky.

An annual lantern festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand served as inspiration for the event’s founders—In fact, RiSE will return to its Southeast Asian roots for a festival in Bali on November 15. Although this year’s Indonesian experience is invite-only, tickets for the Nevada festival are available online from $50 (includes a ground mat and three lanterns). Before lift-off, guests will enjoy live music, as well as food and wine for additional purchase. An hour after sunset, everyone will light the lanterns (each takes at least two people to launch). In case the floating flames don’t quite enthuse spectators, RiSE will also include a fireworks display.

Surprisingly, this whole operation prides itself on being environmentally conscious. The “Leave No Trace” policy guarantees nearly all of the lanterns will be retrieved once grounded—not to mention each is 100 percent biodegradable. Carbon offsets will also be purchased for every vehicle involved in the cleanup.

Helen Zook is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of RiSE Festival