Aurora to Host First Aurora Borealis Festival in November | Westword
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The Inaugural Aurora Borealis Festival Will Light Up the City of Aurora This November

Vivid laser shows, a mystical forest walk, luminous displays and more will be found at first-ever Aurora Borealis Festival.
Umi, a 21-foot sculpture within Hogan Park at the Aurora Highlands.
Umi, a 21-foot sculpture within Hogan Park at the Aurora Highlands. Aurora Borealis Festival
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If you slept through the Northern Lights a couple of months ago, here’s your chance at a do-over. From November 1 to 3, the inaugural Aurora Borealis Festival will amaze attendees with laser shows, LED light displays and interactive art inspired by the phenomenon. Cultural performances, a global gift bazaar and local food vendors will also be at Winged Melody Park, East 38th Place in Aurora.

Aurora has "several festivals, and the city does a great job with those, but we're really looking to be that key event that brings in thousands of visitors with a world-class experience,” says Randi Morritt, chief operating officer of Visit Aurora, which is producing the event.

The theme is a play on the city’s name, but is also timely, given recent media coverage on Northern Lights viewing. “It's been really exciting to see news pop up about the Aurora Borealis showing in Colorado, and knowing that we're going to bring that to the Aurora Highlands,” says Morritt.

She says that conservatively, Visit Aurora is anticipating 15,000 participants over the three days. Festivities will take place on Friday, November 1, from 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, November 2, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, November 3, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The final day of the event marks the end of Daylight Saving Time, meaning that it will offer nearly the same level of darkness as the day prior and allow the illuminated displays to be on full view.

“When visitors enter through one of two primary entrances, they will come through a lighted tunnel,” Morritt explains. This will activate a projection-mapped sidewalk, leading into the festival grounds. There will be a vividly lit forest walk, installations that become animated with guests’ interactions, and glowing orbs made in partnership with Meow Wolf contributing artists. Each evening starting at dusk, an LED laser light show will be projected into the sky and illustrate the swirling, colorful ribbons of the Aurora Borealis.
click to enlarge An aerial view of Winged Melody Park featuring a carousel, large grassy lawn and amphitheatre
The Aurora Borealis Festival will take place at Winged Melody Park.
Aurora Borealis Festival

“We also have these domes where festival-goers can activate different sound effects," Morritt adds, "immersing them in a combination of light and sound.” In addition, there will be a virtualreality experience, a silent disco and performers on the main stage, plus a marketplace to kick off holiday shopping and a food hall that will highlight the city’s culturally diverse dining scene.

Applications to perform or participate as a vendor are available on the event website through August 31. New local companies and those with tight budgets are encouraged to apply. Morritt affirms, “We'll be providing scholarships to help small businesses exhibit at the festival because it's really important that it’s accessible for [those] that are just getting started.”

Visit Aurora CEO Bruce Dalton adds to this sentiment, noting that part of the festival’s mission is to “always keep it affordable for all residents to attend.” Parking is priced at $10, and while general admission is free, attendees are encouraged to book a time slot online for expedited entry and event updates.

A VIP option will be available; that $50 ticket includes preferred parking at no additional cost along with access to a VIP tent offering exclusive dining options, lounge areas and a premium view of the stage and light activations.

“We want to make sure everyone is included and feels welcome,” concludes Morritt. “Bring your friends, your family members and your kids to come out and celebrate all of the great culture that is happening in Aurora.”

Aurora Borealis Festival, November 1-3, East 28th Place, Aurora. Learn more at auroraborealisfestival.com.
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