Behind the scenes of the Chinese Lantern Festival

The Chinese Lantern Festival returns to Philadelphia’s Franklin Square Park for the third year on May 1, featuring 1,500 individual works to be lit with more than 15,000 LED lights.

Only two exhibits from the 2017 festival return, the pandas and the beloved Chinese dragon. This year, the festival will feature an endangered species gallery, tropical fish, a walk-through shark tunnel, and a fairy tree.

Face-changing performances and acrobatic feats will also take place during the evening, and the Dragon Beer Garden will return.

The steel-framed lanterns are created by 20 artisans from Tianyu Arts & Culture. They cover the frames using glue and satin, then hand paint the creatures to bring them to life. On Friday morning, a crew of a dozen workers lifted the top of the welcoming arch onto the main entry way with the help of crane.

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The festival officially opens on May 1, and will continue through June 30. The lights go on at 6 p.m. For ticket prices and more info, visit the Historic Philadelphia website.

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