Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival 2016

Written by Dani and Andrew Livelsberger
Photography by Andrew Livelsberger

39 large, illuminated displays adorn the Natural Resources Park of the Ohio State Fairgrounds.  The Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival runs from from November 25th 2016 through January 2nd 2017.  Viewing times are 5pm to 10pm nightly.  The Event offers lighted silk lanterns, food vendors, and an entertainment stage.  Performance times are Sun-Thur:  6:30pm and 8:00pm, Fri-Sat: 6:30pm, 8:00pm, 9:00pm

Tickets for the event can be purchased online or on site.

Prices vary depending on age groups.  Discounts are also available, which are explained on the website.

entry archway or “paifang”

When ypu think of Chinese lanterns, most people think of either the round paper or silk lanterns.  prepare to have your impression blown by the sites you’ll see at the Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival.

Taking over the entire Natural Resources Park, the installation has several cultural specific pieces.  These also include information and descriptions of the significance of the pieces.

As you walk through the initial entrance, you are greeted by a large archway, also known as a Paifang, beautifully emblazoned in red.   Just past the paifang, you go through a tunnel that is roofed by lit flowers.  The left side of the tunnel has animated windmill type lanterns and the right has plant lanterns with green stems and white, closed buds.

Through the tunnel is a giant Chinese dragon that no pictures can really do justice.   It must be seen to be believed!

There are maps of the park, showing where the installation pathways go.  In the main park pavilion, you will find food.   Vendors also line parts of the path where you can buy souvenirs.  The main park stage also has shows that run.  While we were there, we saw some juggling acts as well as a martial arts demonstration.

The detail in the lanterns are fantastic as well as the scope of subject matter.  As mentioned previously, there are lots of what many would consider culturally traditional pieces, but there are also a lot of modern nods as well.  In particular, there is a Finding Nemo themed area and in the very back is a Christmas installation with Santa, reindeer, snowmen and Christmas trees.

kylin dragon

kylin dragon closeup

The Kylin(Qilin) Dragon installation was one of the most beautiful I’ve seen.  The body of the creatures are made up of thousands of small, clear bottles that have colored liquid in them.  The colors you’ll see emanating from the dragon are coming from the bottles!

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