The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival returns May 1 – June 30 at Festival in Franklin Square. Don’t miss this celebration of light and culture that features artisans from China creating magnificent steel-framed and silk-wrapped giant lighted sculptures, using traditional Chinese methods. Franklin Square will glow with 28 larger-than-life illuminated groupings of 1,500 individual works of art with more than 15,000 LED lights in brilliant colors. The 200-foot giant fan favorite Chinese Dragon and beloved pandas return, but all other creations will be new for the 2018 Festival. New technology and engineering will be utilized to bring an endangered species gallery to life for the first time in the United States. Other highlights include celebrating the Year of the Dog, tropical birds and fish, mythological animals, the world premiere of a new Fairy Tree, a walk-through Great White Shark Tunnel, and an interactive elephant lantern where visitors pedal a bicycle to change its colors. The lanterns are placed all around the Square, and guests walk among the displays each evening.
In addition to the gorgeous light installations, festival-goers will witness authentic cultural performances that are all new for 2018 including the unusual and impressive art of face-changing and a variety of different Chinese acrobatic acts. Visitors can taste Asian cuisine and American favorites, drink a toast at the Dragon Beer Garden open nightly, and shop for Chinese folk artists’ crafts created on site. Guests will still be able to play Philly Mini Golf, ride the Parx Liberty Carousel (additional tickets required for both), and enjoy Center City’s best play place. The lanterns are able to be viewed for free during daylight hours, while a ticket is required for nighttime entrance. A special video on the heritage of the Chinese lantern tradition and how they are created will be shown at the Festival. Tickets for the Chinese Lantern Festival go on sale on March 20, 2018. Construction on the lanterns will begin in Franklin Square in early April. The public will be able to view the artisans creating the sculptures in a special viewing area in the Square beginning in mid-April.