TWIN FALLS — Experience Shoshone Falls lit up by lights and lasers — but this time while learning the history of the Magic Valley.
Southern Idaho Tourism will host its second annual Lights & Lasers at Shoshone Falls for four nights, May 15-18. This year’s event will be more themed around Magic Valley history, combining music, narration and lasers to project images onto the falls.
Although it may seem early, Southern Idaho Tourism Executive Director Melissa Barry warns residents to not delay in getting their tickets; the Saturday night show is already sold out.
This year’s Lights & Lasers show will have some changes in hopes of ironing out a few of the issues that happened last year with the first-time event. Here are the answers to some questions people may have:
How do I get my tickets?
Tickets can be purchased at visitsouthidaho.com. Sales went live on April 1 and are limited to 1,500 people each of the four nights.
The Saturday night showing sold out in less than two days, but there are still plenty of spots available on the Wednesday through Friday night shows (though Friday was already half sold-out by April 4).
General admission tickets cost $12 each for ages 13 and older and $6 for children ages 6-12. Children age 5 and younger can come for free. Showings begin at 10 p.m. but the event starts at 7 p.m. with food and activities.
“All the VIP tickets were gone by 10 a.m. on April 1,” Barry said.
VIP seating was limited to 40 people a night, and those ticket holders will get special platform seating, a snack and a drink.
So far, a lot of those who have registered are from the Boise area, Barry said. But locals are also encouraged to save their spots soon.
“The tickets will be mailed, and the wristbands will be available at check-in,” said Cassidee Christensen, Southern Idaho Tourism’s public relations and development coordinator.
What’s changed this year?
The 2018 show was a first event of its kind for the park, which made it difficult to plan. But the biggest regret Barry has was that a lot of people were not able to see the falls properly.
While the event borrowed a 350-seat bleacher and a 150-seat bleacher, along with several smaller ones, the setup wasn’t exactly how Barry had imagined. The largest bleacher was not so useful because it had to be placed so far back, she said.
This year’s event will have 16-20 smaller bleachers strategically placed for better viewing.
“We’ll start bringing in the bleachers sooner and putting them closer,” Barry said. “All of them will be right along the canyon rim.”
People will still be welcome to bring their own seats if they prefer. It’s also recommended to bring blankets, strollers and flashlights.
Perhaps the biggest change this year is the new company that will be creating and projecting the show.
“Last year was pretty cool,” Barry said. “The show was a little sporadic. It wasn’t my ultimate goal for the event.”
Southern Idaho Tourism is paying more to have YLS Entertainment provide the service, but Barry expects the show will have more of a storyline telling the history of the Magic Valley and of the Snake River Canyon. The story will be based on information provided to the company by Southern Idaho Tourism.
“If it means bringing a better event, we’re willing to pay the price for it,” Barry said.
Another change this year is with parking. People with physical handicaps will not be allowed to park down in the park this time because it created conflicts with the food lines and the buses, Barry said. Instead, handicapped-accessible buses will be running throughout the night.
The bus company has also been advised to have buses designated to shuttle attendees to certain parking lots, Barry said. That should help reduce the time it takes to get to one’s car after the event has concluded.
What food and activities will be there?
This year’s event will have more free things for kids, Barry said. Children will be able to go on a bounce mat, have their faces painted or go on a hay ride. Additionally, Tom’s Mini Train will provide free train rides, Shadpoke the clown will make balloon animals and Putters Mini Golf will have a “putting Plinko game,” Christensen said.
This year’s food vendors include Ketchum Burrito, Anchor Bistro and Robin’s Roost. There will also be corn dogs, kettle corn, mini donuts, snow cones and homemade ice cream, she said.
The Herrett Center for Arts and Science will bring its snakes to the event, Barry said. Gemstone Climbing Center, Idaho Guide Service, AWOL Adventure sports and other companies will have information available about their services.
The event portion begins at 7 p.m. with buses running into the canyon starting at 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Buses will begin leaving the canyon after the event.
Can I plan on walking or biking in?
Attendees can plan to walk or bike in, but they will still need a wristband to be allowed to stay in the park after dark. Barry also says to plan on the trail being extremely dark, so bring flashlights or headlights if that’s how you intend to get home.
Will this affect park hours on those days?
Shoshone Falls will remain open to the public until dusk, at which point only those with wristbands can stay. Vehicles will still get charged the $5 entry fee.
The city does not charge Southern Idaho Tourism for use of the park, Parks and Recreation Director Wendy Davis said. However, the event organizers will be responsible for protecting vegetation and picking up trash. Davis said she had a few concerns before the 2018 event, but was pleased with the outcome.
“From a city parks perspective, they did a great job,” Davis said. “Everything was cleaned. They were respectful of the facilities.”
This year’s event will bring in an additional 1,500 people with an extra night’s showing. Even with several corporate sponsors to help put the show together, the event isn’t a big moneymaker due to the costs of busing, setup and security, Barry said. Still, she hopes to continue hosting the event once a year to fulfill her organization’s goal to “put heads in beds” and increase tourism to the area.