A major highlight from our spring break trip to Philadelphia was the Chinese Lantern Festival. The festival is the first of its kind in the Northeast United States. It is being held in Franklin Square to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the historic square’s restoration.
The festival boasts an impressive 200 foot dragon and more than 25 lanterns handcrafted by Chinese artisans. You get enthralled by the magical whimsy as soon as you enter via the stunning entry arch!
Unfortunately we hit a terrible patch of weather during our trip. It was consistently rainy and cold! We were not going to let the rain dampen our spirits so we went to the festival regardless. We arrived at 6pm when the gates opened and had the enchanting display mostly to ourselves. We were hoping that the rain would eventually let up but it only got worse as the evening progressed.
On the bright side we were able to get up close to all to all of the lanterns. We got terrific pictures without crowds getting in the way. Conversely we felt gypped. We couldn’t hold out and stay until it got dark because KidC was freezing. The lanterns are lovely in the twilight but for the next two days I was whining about not seeing them in all their glory against a black sky.
Whether you get to view the lanterns in the day or night, they are a phenomenal display of artistry. They are cheerful and evoke the exuberance and joy of the Chinese culture.
KidC’s favorite! @KidCongeniality
Some of our favorites:
The giant dragon is extraordinary and sits besides a fully stocked beer garden/bar. I can still picture myself sitting dragon-side with a nice cold drink on a warm evening. Alas that will need to wait until next time! We sure hope that the festival is a success for Philadelphia and returns next year.
Bottom Line: We would go to the festival again in a heart beat but only weather permitting! Do not buy tickets in advance because the event takes place rain or shine. No refunds are granted. You can easily walk up and purchase same day tickets at the gate. It’s an expensive venture for a family and if the weather is a bust the kids will get restless.
Organizers take note: we were surprised at the lack vendors at the event. The weather may have kept some vendors away but the square should be bursting with culinary delights, crafts and cultural specialties.
Looks like the bad weather didn’t hinder the fun as 25,000 visitors went to visit the festival in the first month!
The lantern festival runs through June 22. Tickets cost $17 (adults), $12 (17 and under) $15 (senior citizens).
** Disclaimer: I was given two media passes to review the event and purchased tickets for the remainder of our party.**
For more pictures check out Visit Philly