The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival is underway until Aug. 13, giving people the chance to view roughly 1,500 individual creations at Franklin Square.
More than 80 people created the lanterns on display at the park. The lanterns are handcrafted on silk fabric stretched over steel frames and then lit with over 25,000 LED lights. Artists used 20,000 square feet of silk and 16,000 feet of electric cables.
This year, a second dragon has been included and is coiled to form a tunnel that stretches 100 feet. The giant dragon lantern is still a staple at the festival, and is longer than three school buses (164 feet long, 21 feet tall). The head was installed by a crane with a 15-person crew. More than 70 pieces make up that one lantern.
Historic Philadelphia President and CEO Amy Needle says the dragons tend to be the most popular attractions at the festival.
“It’s always exciting for us to sort of plan the festival, but it’s also almost as exciting when we get to see the guests’ reactions to the lanterns,” Needle said. “I think really discovering all the new things is part of what makes the festival fun.”
Also new to the Chinese Lantern Festival is a lingzhi tree. At more than 33 feet high, it’s the tallest lantern at this year’s event.
Franklin Square will close at 5 p.m. each day ahead of the festival, which takes place from 6-11 p.m. The festival will not be held on July 4.
Despite the park closing early for the festival, Needle says there is a way folks can enjoy the festival for free.
“We actually have a Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival scavenger hunt that you can come and do,” Needle said. “You can go to the ticket window. It’s a free thing that you can do, and if you answer all the questions, you get a free carousel ride.”
Three main stage live performances will take place every evening including Face-Changing, Jar Juggling, Jiu-Jitsu Acrobatics, Plate Spinning, Kung Fu Tea, and Folk Dance.
Here’s the schedule for entertainment at the Chinese Lantern Festival:
- 6, 6:30, & 7 p.m. – Fountain Shows
- 7:30 p.m. – Stage Performances
- 8 & 8:30 p.m. – Fountain Shows
- 9 p.m. – Stage Performances
- 9:30 & 10 p.m. – Fountain Shows
- 10:15 p.m. – Stage Performances
Tickets can be purchased from Historic Philadelphia online.
The event is produced by Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc. and its parent company, Sichuan Tianyu Cultural Communications, Ltd. in cooperation with Historic Philadelphia, Inc.
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