Franklin Square will glow with Oriental-inspired lights and pagodas for the first-ever Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival this spring. Here’s what to expect at this nighttime-only exhibit running from April 22 to June 12.


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THE INSPIRATION: The Lantern Festival is a Chinese celebration that dates back almost 2000 years. Traditionally, lanterns were simple and owned by ancient emperors and noblemen. Today, they’re embellished by ornate and intricate designs that dazzle and inspire audiences. Most of the displays are predominantly red, a symbol of good fortune in Chinese culture.

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ALL OF THE LIGHTS: To celebrate the 10th birthday of the revamped Franklin Square, expertly handcrafted giant flowers, a three-story pagoda, and a 200-foot Chinese dragon will light up the night. More than 25 brilliantly-lit lamps constructed by artisans from China will cover a wide range of the the historic park in a colorful glow. Get your camera ready for fantastic displays combining traditional Chinese art and modern engineering of thousands of LED lights.

Street food in Kuala Lumpur Chinatown

WALK IN THE PARK: Beyond the elegant displays, nightly entertainment will also brighten the park. While the full lineup is yet to be released, performances are confirmed to include impressive acrobatics and balancing acts. Craftsmen will also open pop-up booths at different locations throughout the square to sell a variety of goods like edible sugar dragons and Chinese paintings. Local restaurants and vendors from China will provide food and drinks for purchase, and festival-goers can buy themed items as well. Don’t forget to enjoy the typical activities available at Franklin Square, such as the carousel and mini golf course.

DETAILS: The festival will be open from 6pm to 10pm during the week, and until 11pm on Friday and Saturday. For forthcoming ticketing and event details, check the Franklin Square website.

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