Fire on the mountain, thanks to Outing Club sky lantern launch

A century ago, Bates students hauled logs and tar barrels up Mount David for massive bonfires to celebrate sports triumphs or to drive away the winter blahs.

Bonfires are a no-no today, but fire on the mountain is still part of Bates life, thanks to a Bates Outing Club tradition known as Children of Midnight.

The Bates Outing Club’s “Children of Midnight” event on Jan. 29, 2013, culminates with the launch of sky lanterns above Mount David. Photograph by Will Strathmann ’13.

A few times each year, and on short notice, the BOC announces a Children of Midnight event. The most recent one, on Jan. 29, featured the launch of sky lanterns into the snowy sky above Mount David.

Michelle Pham ’15 of Vancouver writes the blog Musings and Designs, and she describes heading up the mountain to join the Children of Midnight:

Tonight, while writing some notes out for my class, my friend told me that the BOC was hosting “Children of Midnight.” Since I usually work midnight and beyond, of course I had to come when I heard that they were releasing flying sky lanterns tonight. It is snowing heavily in Maine today, and all the pathways glisten and sparkle with fresh crystals of snow. The purity of the snow combined with the warm light of the lanterns created such a mystical ambiance that was entirely beautiful.

4 Responses to “Fire on the mountain, thanks to Outing Club sky lantern launch”

  1. Sean Cranmer says:

    Hmm, I seem to recall the “Children of Midnight” was coined by one Todd P. Bailey. The idea was born from our annual Katahdin trips with a departure at midnight, we drove through the night, hiked all day, had a a bbq before returning to Bates that same day. Then was the “suffer-fest” (Mark Synott) of a bike trip up the auto road on Mt. Washington that Todd led at night. Ever after, sketchy, ill planned excursions that departed Bates late at night with no plan for sleep coupled with long miles or great exertion were referred to as “Children of Midnight” missions. This lantern launch seems like a rather watered down example of the “Children of Midnight”, Todd Bailey is probably rolling over in his stinky polypro.

  2. Jack Murphy says:

    It’s so nice to hear that Children of Midnight continues!

    One night in 2006 we organized a Children of Midnight critical mass bike rider.

    The email went out around 10pm (“The air is crisp, and the Moon is bright, Meet at Hathorn Hall when clock strikes midnight . . . a bring any human powered vehicle that roles).

    Around 30 Batesies on bikes, skateboards, scooters, etc. rolled through the street of Lewiston in the early morning hours with no leader. Whoever was in front at the time would make a turn and the adventure would continue.

    It was a good day to be a Bobcat!

  3. Joan says:

    It does look very beautiful, what are the lanterns made out of and how do you get them to fly up into the sky??

    • Jay Burns says:

      Hi Joan. Sky lanterns are basically small hot-air balloons. In this case, the source of the heat is a burning square of paper that’s suspended by wires at the bottom of the lantern. – HJB

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