Light City Baltimore kicked off Saturday night — and it was easy to tell.
Hundreds flocked to the Inner Harbor, many decked in multi-colored lights, florescent-lit flower crowns and light-up sneakers for the third year of what has been billed the first free international lights festival.
The festival’s official parade was full in effect after 8 p.m. with stilt walkers, a band and participants sticking to the theme, with multicolored lit floats and bright batons.
Rosie Rodriguez, 47, who traveled from Milford, Conn., with her husband, daughter and two sons to visit the city for the first time, said that she figured this would be a nice way to explore the city while on vacation.
Her son was fascinated by the Drone Prix event, which took place east of Light Street and Key Highway, she said, but the event had far more people than she expected.
While reviews of the festival and its attractions received mixed reviews from some participants, the consensus was largely that the first day was congested, making navigation to different places cumbersome, especially when traveling with a family, according to West Baltimore native Ronda Miller, who was attending with her 8-year-old daughter.
“I don’t want to lose her,” said Miller, 50. The two took a break in a grassy area along the harbor. Her daughter was having fun, which was the whole point, she said, but she wished there was more space.
“I know they try to make it at the harbor, but they have to make it big enough for everyone.”
Sarah Harper, 28, who has gone to the festival since its inaugural year in 2016, said this year’s attractions seemed not as diverse or wide-ranging as previous years.
“Every year, it’s been so good, and this year, it’s like walking around the harbor on any other weekend,” said Harper, while sitting on a bench.
Federal Hill resident Joanna Foster, 45, who came with her son Andrew, 13, and her daughter, Julia, 10, agreed that the festival was “so crowded,” but noted that “it’s definitely worth coming down for.”
Foster noted that she would likely return on a less busier day during the week.
Police said late Saturday that reports of gunfire at Light City turned out to be fireworks “We are there, all over, ensuring all remains good,” police spokesman T.J. Smith said.