This week, historic Franklin Square will transform into one of the most unique, colorful and fun sights you will see all year in the City of Brotherly Love. The Chinese Lantern Festival debuts May 1, and this incredible showcase of lights, lanterns, entertainment, food and drinks simply cannot be missed.
This is the fourth year for the wildly popular Chinese Lantern Festival, and this illuminating event is bigger than ever this time around. According to the release, the festival will feature 29 larger-than-life illuminated displays made of 2,000 individual lanterns and 20,000 LED lights in brilliant colors. All of these gorgeous works of art were created by hand using traditional Chinese methods. The magnificent steel-framed and silk-wrapped giant lighted sculptures are all brand-new designs for the festival — some have never even been seen in the United States before. Highlights include a 200-foot-long phoenix, a walk-through dragon tunnel, and a host of interactive installations such as lit swings and a fortune-telling wheel.
The Chinese Lantern Festival will also feature incredible live cultural performances, each one authentic and wildly impressive. Performances include martial arts specialists, a mysterious face changer, dancers, contortionists and jugglers. There will be three performances happening nightly, each one showcasing a different skill, talent and act.
“Historic Philadelphia Inc. is pleased to bring this treasure of Chinese culture to our region. Gorgeous works of art, performances, and a magical evening in Franklin Square will create lasting memories for Philadelphia residents and visitors,” said Amy Needle, president and CEO of Historic Philadelphia Inc., in a release.
The Chinese Lantern Festival at Franklin Square Park. JEFF FUSCO
In addition to the incredible lantern showcases and live performances, festivalgoers can also indulge in deliciously authentic Asian cuisine and shopping. There will be Chinese folk artists’ crafts and festival-themed merchandise as well as mouthwatering dishes and drinks sold throughout the festival, plus specialty refreshments will also be sold at the Dragon Beer Garden (open nightly).
According to the release, during the festival the lanterns are able to be viewed for free during the daytime, while a ticket is required for nighttime entrance (no re-entry). In addition, during the day for free, a new way to experience the festival is by exploring the Square with a Lantern Scavenger Hunt. Any Philadelphian who completes the scavenger hunt will receive a free ride on the Parx Liberty Carousel. Information on the hunt will be available at the ticket window in Franklin Square.
Proceeds from this year’s festival will go toward the operation and management of Franklin Square and its many free events all year long. The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square is produced by the Tianyu Arts & Culture Inc. and its parent company, Sichuan Tianyu Cultural Communications Ltd. in cooperation with Historic Philadelphia Inc.