On the evening of June 21, the skies over Poznan are traditionally aglow with paper lanterns. The goal for tonight is to launch 30,000 of the tissue paper hot air balloons. You can check of my post from last year, complete with video of the crowd and the lanterns.
The sight of the sky filled with the glowing lanterns is breathtaking, but it has always struck the American in me as dangerous, wildfires are a big risk at home this time of year. The landscape is much greener here and the humidity much higher, but apparently I’m not the only one with concerns according to an article in The Gazeta today. Firefighters have argued that most European countries have outlawed this practice and Poland should too. The event is organized by a non-profit organization (to help promote Poznan internationally) and approval given by the city. The mayor of Poznan (the office is called president here) is permitting the huge undertaking, but those of you familiar with Polish culture will not be surprised, that he and the city are not taking responsibility for the safety of participants, that belongs to the organizer.
The organizer, who feels the firefighters are overstating the danger, will offer not extend his assurance of safety if there are people setting the lanterns off incorrectly. Those individuals would be responsible for any dangerous results. Good luck finding them. There is currently one lawsuit against the non-profit from last year’s lantern event; the suit is brought by someone injured by a lit fuel cube falling from the sky.
The Warta river is higher than most years, so the location has been moved a little further north. Tonight from 8 PM until midnight, they’ll be launching from the bridge near the Cathedral. I’ve heard that they will be going off from both banks this year; we hope to catch a glimpse.