Tuesday, May 09, 2017 6:00p -
Sunday, Jun 11, 2017 10:00p
200 6th St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Date Idea, Festivals & Fairs, Kid Friendly, Performing Arts, Food
Historic Philadelphia, Inc. announces the return of the blockbuster Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square which will take place from May 9 to June 11, 2017 with all new creations.
Sunday - Thursday, 6:00pm -10:00pm
Friday & Saturday, 6:00pm -11:00pm
Seniors and military: $15
Children ages 3-17: $12
(The park is free to the public before 5 p.m. every day)
The first Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square debuted in April 2016 and ran for seven weeks, welcoming 92,000 visitors from all 50 states and 10 foreign countries. The Festival is a celebration of light and culture that features artisans from China creating magnificent steel-framed and silk-wrapped giant animals, springtime flowers and trees, and symbols of Chinese culture using traditional Chinese methods.
For five weeks, Franklin Square will glow with 29 larger-than-life illuminated lantern displays of 1,500 individual sculptures with more than 15,000 LED lights in brilliant colors. The giant fan favorite Chinese Dragon (newly rebuilt), but all of the other displays will be new for the 2017 Festival. In addition to the gorgeous light installations, festival-goers will witness authentic cultural performances that are all new for 2017 such as acrobats and folk dancers. Visitors can taste Asian cuisine and American favorites, drink a toast at the Dragon Beer Garden, and shop for artists’ creations crafted on site. Guests will still be able to play Philly Mini Golf, ride the Parx Liberty Carousel, and enjoy Center City’s best play place. The proceeds that Historic Philadelphia receive from the Festival will go into the operation and management of Franklin Square and its many free events all year long.
One city in China, Zigong in Sichuan province, has been the capital of Chinese lantern-making for thousands of years. The skills of the artisans are passed from one generation to the next. Twenty Chinese artisans will be in Philadelphia for an entire month, assembling and decorating the lanterns. Traditionally, the Lantern Festival is a Chinese festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar calendar marking the last day of the lunar New Year celebration dating back nearly 2000 years. In ancient times, the lanterns were fairly simple, and only the emperor and noblemen had large ornate ones. In modern times, lanterns have been embellished with many complex designs such as the ones on view at the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival. The lanterns are begun with steel frames welded into outlined shapes, and then plain silk is wrapped and glued around each frame. Then, each lantern’s silk is hand-painted to create animals, flowers, patterns, and other designs to create each finished piece. Finally hundreds of LED lights are strung inside the lantern so that the silk glows in the dark. Each larger than life lantern will once again wow visitors with their amazing craftsmanship, cultural significance, and artistic beauty.
Most of the lantern materials for the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square will be created in China especially for this event and sent via ten containers on a ship to the United States. The lanterns will be assembled by a 20-person team of artisans over a one-month period in the Square. The public is invited to view the process and progress on select days in April for free. The glowing yellow Chinese Dragon lantern is longer than three school buses and weighs 3,000 pounds. Standing 200 feet long and 21 feet high, the head will be installed by a crane with a 15-person crew. The lanterns will be placed all around the seven-and-a-half acre Square, and guests will walk among the displays each of which contain hundreds of LED lights.