Chinese Lantern Festival returns to Philadelphia

The dragon is back at the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival. (THG/Kristin Guglietti)

The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square is back and brighter than ever.

The lanterns will illuminate Franklin Square at 6th and Race Streets in historic Philadelphia from June 21 through August 7 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. nightly with more than 30 larger-than-life displays radiating brilliant color.

Take your camera and a friend as there are plenty of photo ops you don’t want to miss. At the festival, highlights include the return of the 200-foot-long dragon, the giant Temple of Heaven, a panda bamboo forest, a kaleidoscope selfie spot, fountain shows and more.

“Today, lantern festivals are still held every year across the country. Every major Chinese city has its own festival of lights that attracts millions of visitors and tourists. During Chinese New Year, families go out to see the beautiful lanterns created by Chinese artists. Each light sculpture tells a legend or symbolizes an old Chinese story,” reads the press release from the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival.

The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square will run nightly through August 7. (THG/Kristin Guglietti)

Philadelphia’s last Chinese Lantern Festival was held in 2019, and in 2022 guests can expect to see new performances.

Performances include a mysterious face changer, dancers and acrobats. These Chinese performers will demonstrate incredible and impressive feats of strength, balance and form. There will be three 30-minute performances each night of the festival interspersed with fountain shows. Performances are free with admission to the Festival and are subject to change.

“One of the reasons it was so important to do this festival again was for Chinatown. We hope you visit Chinatown before and after the festival and tell your friends to go visit Chinatown,” said Amy Needle, CEO and President of Historic Philadelphia.

Katherine Ngee, secretary of the board of directors of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC), explained the Panda promotion program.

“In cooperation with Historic Philadelphia Incorporated, PCDC has developed the Panda promotions program with local businesses in Chinatown. Offer discounts or special offers when guests present their festival ticket before or after the visit,” Ngee said.

Ticket information:

During the festival, Franklin Square is open during normal daytime hours. The lanterns can be viewed free of charge during the day, while a ticket is required for nighttime entry after 6 p.m. with no re-entry. Advance tickets are strongly recommended with limited tickets on sale on site.

Tickets cost between $12 and $23. Admission is free for children 12 and under and must be accompanied by an adult.

Tickets can be purchased at www.phillychineselanternfestival.org.

The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square is a rain or shine event. Tickets can be rescheduled with 24 hours notice. If conditions force the festival to be cancelled, ticket holders will be notified by email. For more information on weather and cancellations, visit the website at www.phillychineselanternfestival.org.

Food and drink:

The Dragon Beer Garden is open every evening until 22:00. Specialty cocktails include Green Tea Cocktail, Peking Gin and Ginger, Pink Lady, Paloma, Bourbon Lemonade, and several mocktails.

Taste delicious Asian cuisine at Sang Kee. Chinese selections from one of Chinatown’s best restaurants including Spicy Grilled Chicken in Steamed Bun, Dan Dan Noodles, Vegetable Fried Rice, Steamed Meatballs, General Tao’s Chicken, Shrimp with coconut, pineapple and watermelon smoothies, lemongrass green tea and more.

Oishii, located at the Dragon Beer Garden, will offer an assortment of Asian options including seaweed salad, shrimp tempura, chicken satay, Korean meatballs, fried ice cream, ice cream mochi and more.

Comfort food is available at SquareBurger, which will feature burgers, grilled cheese, churros and the Cake Shake.

Four of the five contest winners stand next to the tiger lantern they designed. The selected designers are: Evelyn Dinozo, 9, of Levittown; Samantha Ehling, 14, of Philadelphia; Georgia Freeman, 11, of Philadelphia; Aniaya Hillian, 14, of Philadelphia; and Grace Siegel, 10, of Philadelphia. (THG/Kristin Guglietti)

Student Design Competition:

The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival Student Design Competition presented by Temple University gives local students the opportunity to design a lantern for the 2022 festival. Children ages 8-14 were invited to submit a design of a tiger to celebrate the Year of the Tiger. The selected drawings were transformed into lanterns and will be exhibited during the festival. The selected designers are: Evelyn Dinozo, 9, of Levittown; Samantha Ehling, 14, of Philadelphia; Georgia Freeman, 11, of Philadelphia; Aniaya Hillian, 14, of Philadelphia; and Grace Siegel, 10, of Philadelphia. Students can take the lantern home at the end of the festival.

Other highlights:

Philly Mini Golf presented by IBEW Local 98: Putt around town on this Philadelphia-themed miniature golf course. $10 adults/$8 children (3-12); free for children under 2 years old.

Parx Liberty Carousel: Ride this spectacular all-American style carousel. 3 years and over: $2.50 per trip; free for children 2 and under.

Playgrounds: Slides, swings and towers… bring the kids and enjoy two playgrounds! Open all year and free.

Pagoda Gift Shop: A variety of traditional and playful merchandise options will be on sale, including handicrafts, festival-themed items, and colorful lantern-inspired gifts.

For more information, visit www.phillychineselanternfestival.org.

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