Gaslight Festival celebrates culture of Louisville

By on September 18, 2012

The Gaslight Festival, which took place in Jeffersontown last weekend, offered a chance for Louisvillians to experience the many cultures of Derby city.

By Esther Lee–

Starting out as a small street party in 1969, the Gaslight Festival has definitely grown into one of the largest events that Jeffersontown has to offer. Always held during the third week of Sepetember, the Gaslight Festival is an anticipated tradition that showcases eight days of events. This past week from Sept. 9to Sept. 16, the festival boasted eight events such as the Gaslight 5KWalk/Run, Gaslight Balloon Glow and the Arts and Crafts Extravaganza,.

The Gaslight 5K Walk/Run was held this past Tuesday, Sept. 11. This evening run welcomed anyone who wanted to participate and started and ended at the Jeffersontown City Hall.

Ben King, participant of the Gaslight 5K Walk/Run and employee at the University of Louisville Ekstrom Library, described his experience. “It was pleasant. The mayor, Bill Dieruf, spoke to J-Town before the run. The run went right down my street, and the guy next door cheered me on. It was a lot of fun, and it was fun running since it was so close to home. Everyone had a really good time.” After the run, there was an award ceremony and snacks. “They gave us bananas,” King laughed.

On Sept. 14, Friday evening, Skyview Park displayed a handful of hot air balloons to the residents of Jeffersontown. The Gaslight Balloon Glow event was very family-oriented. The park overflowed with parents and children who were all excited to see the gigantic hot air balloons light up in the dark. The operators turned on the flames which gave the balloons their “glow.” Vendors sold glow-in-the-dark accessories and typical festival foods. The table booths gave out orange and green helium-filled balloons and operated children’s activities.

The overall atmosphere was very light and cheerful. A sense of child-like fun filled the air: a fun that can only be found with children playing in the dirt or running through the grass. While leaving the park, I couldn’t help but look behind me. The view was stunning with the gigantic hot air balloons and the flashing glow-in-the-dark toys brightening the night sky.

The Arts and Crafts Extravaganza was at the Gaslight Square on Taylorsville Road and Watterson Trail. Parts of the roads were blocked off for the three-day event. Over 140 vendors filled the streets. “The Gaslight Festival shows a part of Louisville that isn’t seen very often. The community’s culture is rich and enthusiastic. It exudes life throughout each booth there,” Amna Zolj, age 19, a physics major, explained. Zolj also bought a Christmas ornament for a family friend at one of the art vendors. The types of booths ranged from beautifully handcrafted jewelry to wooden rocking horses to do-it-yourself candles.

Also, a festival wouldn’t be a festival without festival food and music, right? The aroma of grease-infested funnel cakes and fried Oreos mingled with the sound of blasting musical performances coming from the Entertainment Garden. The festival thoroughly presented the creative and lively side of J-Town.

Without a doubt, the festival brought the community together in Jeffersontown. Every year, about 200,000 people come to the Gaslight Festival to celebrate the town and have fun. “It reminds you of the small towns long ago when everybody met in the middle of the town to have a good time together,” Kevin Tran, 19, a bioengineering major, said.

Photos: Tricia Stern/The Louisville Cardinal

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