The founders of Wonderland want Columbus to dream big. They want people to wish for something awesome.

The founders of Wonderland want Columbus to dream big. They want people to wish for something awesome.

And, on Friday night, they want city residents to write those wishes on illuminated helium balloons and tether them to an anchor on the grounds of Franklin Park Conservatory.

The event is called "Float," and it's a chance for Columbus to voice its hopes and dreams while learning more about the creative, multiuse ecosystem taking shape in the former Wonder Bread plant at North Fourth and East Lincoln streets.

"You can write a birthday wish or a city wish or a Wonderland wish," said Josh Quinn, owner of Tigertree boutique and one of the project's principal players. "Obviously for us, it's important to see things that are Wonderland-appropriate or things that you think Wonderland will help you achieve."

Each balloon will be lighted by a small, battery-powered LED bulb.

The inspiration comes from paper lanterns released during the Chinese New Year - which the Wonderland team discovered was a colorful but very fire-hazardous tradition. Plans calling for a familiar balloon release eventually were scrapped because of environmental concerns.

The final plan of tethering the floating balloons together on a terrace signals strength in numbers, Quinn said. The night sky will see a multicolored flotilla shining above the conservatory's nighttime light installation.

"It's going to be fun," Quinn said. "I think the visual will be amazing."

As people send their wishes skyward, local band Survivalist will play for a crowd munching appetizers, sipping from a cash bar and checking out new Wonderland merchandise.

Admission is free. A minimum $5 donation is suggested for balloons.

Throughout the night, those behind Wonderland will be on hand to speak about its progress and solicit input from the community.

"There's not an official speech from anyone," Quinn said. "We're basically just opening up board and staff to walk around and talk to people and answer any questions they might have."

When the party dies down, wishes will be logged on the project website. Balloons will be placed somewhere in the Wonderland structure.

"We think that's a cool way to say that you're writing something that's going into the fabric of the building," Quinn added.