A dragon lights the sky as part of the Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival at the PNE. (submitted photo)

Chinese Lantern Festival glows at PNE starting Friday

Event billed as the largest festival of its kind in Canada

Some large, ornate lanterns light the sky at the Pacific National Exhibition grounds starting tonight (Friday, Dec. 15).

The Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival features dozens of gossamer lanterns, some reaching 200 feet in length.

Billed as the largest event of its kind in Canada, the festival includes 35 illuminated displays, “transforming over 14 acres of Hastings Park into an explosion of light and colours,” according to an event advisory from the PNE.

The five-week festival runs daily until Jan. 21, save for its closure on Christmas Day.

“We believe our lantern festivals can improve cultural communication between China and the world,” said Bin Zhu, direct of festival planner Sichuan Tianyu Culture Communication Co. Ltd.

“It is our wish for communities globally to explore how the Chinese lantern festivals are celebrated and to discover why this festival is significant to people of Chinese decent,” he added. “The artists will be creating many culturally significant lanterns as part of this display, and we look forward to bringing out all the communities within British Columbia to enjoy the event.”

The festival will feature examples of dragon, white pagoda, kylin and huabiao column lanterns, each symbolizing a Chinese sage or legend.

“It is a tremendous honour to have been selected by this leading cultural organization as the inaugural host in Canada for this important festival,” stated Mike McDaniel, president and CEO of the PNE.

“We anticipate people from all ethnicities and cultures from across our region will be excited about the opportunity to see this important and impressive display.”

CLICK HERE to view a photo gallery of lanterns featured at the festival.

In addition to lantern displays, the festival will include nightly performances – acrobatics, plate spinners, dance and more – at the PNE Amphitheatre, at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday, with an additional show at 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Festival tickets (online sales) are $19 for adults (age 13 to 64), $14.50 for seniors (65+), $13.50 for kids (age four to 11) and free for kids under age three. A family pass (two adults and two children) is $55, via TicketLeader.ca.

The festival is open on Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. and Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m.

For more details, call 604-252-3663 or visit vancouverlanternfestival.com.

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