Raquel Panitz/Pipe Dream Photographer Visual graphics are projected on the side of a building Downtown during the LUMA Projection Arts Festival on Friday night.

The LUMA Projection Arts Festival lit up Downtown Binghamton in more ways than one this Friday.

From children sitting on their parents’ shoulders to drones flying around the streets recording, the city was alive during the second annual LUMA Festival.

The LUMA Festival is the largest projection festival in the United States, pulling in over 25,000 people last year to Downtown Binghamton. This year, an estimated 30,000 people showed up. Funded by both local sponsors and a Kickstarter campaign, LUMA brought an incredible showcase of technology and art to the people of the city of Binghamton.

Exhibits were broadcast every six minutes or so, and each of the four buildings used as screens had a different theme. Atomic Tom’s, The Forum Theatre, The Shop and 59 Court St. were all lit up until midnight. The biggest of the four exhibits was accompanied by the Binghamton Philharmonic to provide a live soundtrack to the visuals.

Samantha Schoenfeld, a senior in the individualized major program, enjoyed when everyone counted down right before the projections began.

“I’ve always wanted to go to something like this before,” Schoenfeld said.

The crowded streets had people standing shoulder to shoulder, either waiting for LUMA merchandise, vendors or for the next projection to start. One projection of the night was a tribute to classic video games. Titled “Press Start,” Atomic Tom’s, a gallery on State Street, became a massive arcade cabinet. Games like Galaga, Pac-Man and even Donkey Kong showed up on the building. The colors could only be described as vibrant, as this projection really seemed to bring the side of Atomic Tom’s to life with nostalgia.

Tammy Gendron, a resident of Binghamton for 65 years and first-time LUMA attendee, loved the experience.

“It was very nice, just like Woodstock was geared for baby boomers, this is very much geared toward millennials,” Gendron said. “I really enjoyed how vivid all the colors were.”
One highlight of the show was a projection titled “Hall Of The Caveman King,” which was accompanied by live music from the Binghamton Philharmonic. Projected on the side of The Forum Theatre, the Philharmonic was set up in the driveway and played various classical songs.

The piece featured characters from BC Comics and “The Wizard of Id,” both created by Endicott native Johnny Hart.

The live accompaniment was something to behold, as they were perfectly synchronized to the visuals. At one point when the “Cancan” was playing, much of State Street was clapping along to the music, creating an atmosphere similar to that of your favorite band’s concert.

The community aspect of the event was a running thread through the evening, and celebrating Binghamton as a hometown was a sentiment echoed by Gendron.

“Anything we can do for Binghamton is good,” she said. “We’ve seen it decline over the years so anything to help it is great.”