Chinese Lantern Fest coming to Franklin Square

Charles Mostoller

Get ready for the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival to light up Franklin Square this spring.

Historic Philadelphia, together with representatives from a number of other city agencies and entities, announced plans for the park’s 2016 10th birthday season on Tuesday. They include details for the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square – appearing for the first time in the northeast United States.

For seven weeks, from April 22 to June 12, Philadelphians are invited to experience the light and culture that artisans from China create with 25 larger-than-life, illuminated displays of blossoming flowers, a three-story pagoda, a giant Chinese dragon and more.

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Entertainment will be provided in the form of 30-to-50-minute performances each night from Chinese dancers. Artists will showcase traditional Chinese handicrafts each night including sugar painting and palm leaf weaving works for sale.

The park will be open at 6th and Race streets from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are required at nighttime.

In 2006, Historic Philadelphia, the nonprofit that manages and operates Franklin Square, received a $6.5 million investment to create an urban oasis and family playground at the site. In the ensuing decade, the park has undergone numerous upgrades and renovations and ongoing maintenance to its green space – something it lacked in years past.

“The renovation of Franklin Square has been such an amazing gift to our community surrounding this park,” said City Representative Sheila Hess.

“Before the renovation, the residents of Chinatown, Old City and Northern Liberties didn’t have an area where families could come together to enjoy the outdoors and the active play that is so important to children.

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“In these 10 years, Franklin Square has become a year-rounddestination for city residents and visitors alike, to enjoy great food and fun, family-friendly events.”

Hess said to commemorate the park’s 10-year mark, the Parks & Recreation department’s TreePhilly program will plant 10 new trees in the soil.

“To be able to maintain this facility – to keep it this way for 10 years – is not always something that’s recognized as a great thing,” said Councilman Mark Squilla, who was also in attendance at Tuesday’s celebration.

“I think we need to look at that more – how Philadelphia does a great job of that here in Franklin Square.”

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