I drove two hours to Philly, spent and hour and a half there, drove another two hours to get back all in the same day for a lantern festival, but was it worth it?
First Chinese Lantern Festival
I took a trip down to Philly for my first Chinese Lantern Festival. Even though I wasn’t sure what to expect, I envisioned floating lanterns, floats and possibly kimonos. I was fighting with the weather because we were expecting rain Saturday and this was my only free weekend in June. So I drove down and back in the same night just to be able to experience the festival. I would not recommend this method at all, especially not after a full day at work. It made me value this experience less because I felt rushed. I’d recommend making a full day out of it and end the night there or stopping by at night.
What To Expect
The festival cost 18 dollars. This included performances, access to the sculptures and a beer garden. Performances start at various times throughout the night. I’d recommend getting to the lawn area early to watch the performances. This was my favorite part of the night! It made the 18 dollars I spent feel worthwhile. I valued each and every act more because as the acts introductions included a short lesson about the importance of each act to Chinese culture.
There were four acts total: plate spinning, contortion, acrobatics and face-changing. My favorite act was the Bian Lian also known as face-changing. During this act performers wear brightly colored costumes and move to quick, dramatic music while changing these face-mask within a flick of the hand.
If someone figures out how they change their masks so quickly I’d love to know.
Visiting the Festival
The lantern festival run everyday from about 6PM – 10PM until the end of June 2018. Weekend hours may vary. Either way, if you come across this post before then, I’d recommend checking this place out. The festival is only about a block large. It’s not much of a traditional lantern festival which usually features floating water lanterns or flying lanterns. I’d describe it as a lantern sculpture exhibition , but either way their pieces are very nice!
Understanding the Tickets
Timed tickets are required for entry on Fridays and Saturdays during the Festival. I was initially confused by what this meant when I went to purchase the ticket and saw an hour time range on it. I thought it meant that I could only remain at the festival for that time, but this isn’t the case. The timed entry just means you can only enter the festival between your designated time and you’re free to come and leave as you please after that. Make sure you get stamped for re-entry if you plan on doing this!
The Lantern Festival takes place on the 15th day of the first month in the lunar calendar to mark the first full moon of the Chinese year and the coming of Spring!
Hope you enjoyed the article and have the chance to experience you own lantern festival. Comment below some of your favorite lantern festivals and where they are located