Light City Lights up Baltimore

Sierra Hunter

The inner harbor came alive with color on Friday, April 20th for the 3rd annual Light City festival in Baltimore city.

The free event started at 8 am however the real show was at 7 pm when the lights went down. The seven-day festival is centralized on the inner harbor with exhibits spread throughout the neighboring streets.

Launched by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, Light City is the first large-scale international light festival in the United States.

21 new art installations beamed on BGE's Light Art Walk ranging from projections, illuminated sculptures, videos and more. In addition to the art walk, the shops (storefronts), restaurants and museums along the harbor were still open to the public.

Infographic by Mass Communication student, Danica Grieb

One of the major attractions at Light City is the music. This year the festival offered a full schedule of free concerts including local, regional and renowned DJs, bands and musicians across every genre ranging from Baltimore natives like the Baltimore Rockabilly to Philadelphia hip-hop band, G. Love & Special Sauce.

Former CCBC student John Roberts stated, "The festival was lit..."

Light festivals, which are usually popular in some European and Asian countries like Hong Kong and London are now making their way to the states. Artist Rombout Frieling, from The Netherlands, stated to CBS Baltimore, "In Europe, we have sort of light festivals, in various cities, but I think it's nice it's coming up here." He continued. " I think the location here on the harbor waterfront is really wonderful."
2018 is the first year Light City decided to distribute the principal exhibits throughout the city due to overcrowding last year.
One spectator spoke upon her dislike for the new layout. "I guess they did that so that people would enter other neighborhoods but when there is only one exhibit in one neighborhood, it doesn't make much sense especially when you have to pay for parking."
ArtLab and MakerLab, panels designed to engage and curate art and innovation in Baltimore were also held. Attendance to this part of the festival suggested value is $250 however the "pay what you can” price allows the Labs to be open to all.

Families and spectators were in brightly lit accessories courtesy of the light vendors who were selling lights for $10 each. Food trucks and wine and beverage workshops were also placed throughout the event.

Street artists were sprinkled throughout the festival, trying to make their profit off the high traffic areas.

Light up rickshaw known as "fireflies" went around Harbor East until 10:30 pm. Baltimore native and volunteer Marcus spoke upon his first experience at the event stating that, "This is the first year that Baltimore is using the fireflies." Marcus continued, "it was originally started in Philadelphia, but because of the cost of parking they decided to try it here."

According to Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts, Light City attracted 470,000 nighttime visitors, generating $44 million in revenue in Baltimore last year.

Although it is unclear of the success of this year’s event, there is no mistaking that Light City will be returning for another year.



  1. King 3 May, 2018 at 22:38 Reply

    There are many utilities for engineering and I would also consider it an art. What BGE was able to design is a look of the endless possibilities engineering has.

  2. Sierra Hunter 5 May, 2018 at 14:44 Reply

    OMG you were there too. There was so much stuff to do, I am definitely going back. Thank you for reading

  3. Kyrstin 6 May, 2018 at 22:26 Reply

    This is one of my favorite events that the city holds! The city is beautiful and it brings in a lot of people.

  4. Danica 12 July, 2018 at 12:39 Reply

    Thank you for featuring my infographic! I hope it helps to highlight some of the important details within the article.

    Great job on the article, Sierra!

    • Sierra Hunter 13 July, 2018 at 18:47 Reply

      Thank you Danica, any information I could add to the story was extremely helpful. The infographic was great!!

    • Anna Magnaterra 13 July, 2018 at 22:50 Reply

      Your infographic adds a wonderful visual element to aid with Seirra’s article and really helps to visualize the differences.

  5. Kyle Press 13 July, 2018 at 10:09 Reply

    This is very interesting and cool I never knew about this! I wonder how many watts and power is used to make this event happen? I hope the attendance does not continue to drop.

  6. Noah Sopher 13 July, 2018 at 18:29 Reply

    Wow! Really great article. Love the infographic-has a great background and looks super professional.

  7. Sierra Hunter 13 July, 2018 at 18:53 Reply

    Hey Kyle, I am not particularly sure, I assume it’s a lot. I personally think that this event can bring in more tourism and more revenue to the city, so I hope next year the event has more attendees.

  8. vanessa carrington 13 July, 2018 at 21:20 Reply

    I almost didnt go because I heard a lot about crowds but I’m so glad I braved them.

    Great job on the article and Infographic, guys!

  9. Carlos Medrano Araujo 13 July, 2018 at 21:47 Reply

    Wow! I didn’t know the City Lights were generating such a business and infographic from Danica is so helpful to understand briefly how the attendance has been reduce and revenue also. But, the reason could be based on the fact City Lights have been distributed around the city, they believed more people could enjoy them, but they would never imagine the economic impacy would be as huge as it was this year.

  10. Joseph Breganza 14 July, 2018 at 12:20 Reply


    Your infographic was very useful and provided a great deal of information to the article! I am more of a visual learner and seeing your infographic which highlighted many key facts was awesome! Great job, keep it up!!!

  11. Bria Harrison 14 July, 2018 at 20:28 Reply

    Great job Danica! I’ve never been to the Light’s Festival but after seeing this article, the impact it has on the city and the overall profit, I will definitely consider going. Lastly, the Infographics are stunning, very professional!

  12. Sierra Rosebrough 16 July, 2018 at 10:32 Reply

    I also did my assignment on light City. It is a fun creative environment to go to that I hope will not end anytime soon.

  13. aarron 16 July, 2018 at 11:20 Reply

    I think it is great the light show has made a return to Baltimore. it is great for the people to come together and also great for business.

  14. Samantha Shelton 9 May, 2019 at 07:25 Reply

    Even though I have never been to Baltimore to see this I think it would be wonderful to experience. I feel like it brings all types of people together to enjoy art. It sends out a message to be yourself. I plan on attending this the next time it comes to town. The profit from this event helps out the city in many ways.

  15. Abe Tadros 12 July, 2019 at 22:32 Reply

    The light show was amazing this year, I met one of the people behind the scenes and all the preparation they need to put the show together was unlike anything I’ve ever heard. But as usual they put together a great show and Im looking forward to what they have planned for next year!

  16. lauren 9 December, 2019 at 15:24 Reply

    I am so happy Baltimore decided to do something like this. Its good to have something people can make a tradition downtown during this time of the year.

  17. Natiyah riley 9 December, 2019 at 20:59 Reply

    I’ve never been to the light show but it sounds amazing and like it would be a fun day out to experience a bunch of fun things. I didn’t know about it until I read this article but it made want to go and see it.

  18. Jarod 9 November, 2020 at 11:25 Reply

    I can only imagine what it would’ve looked like. This is my first time even knowing about this event, but I should definitely make my way to the Harbor every year to see it! Well, barring COVID, of course…

  19. Evaughny Shaw 14 December, 2020 at 13:38 Reply

    Due to Covid -19 chances look very slim to none, But wish i could see the lights this year ! I’m hopeful next year i will though !

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