Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

A new festival coming to Columbus will shine a light on Chinese culture.

The Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival will showcase ethnic celebrations, crafts, entertainment and food. The traveling exhibit, put on by Tianyu Arts and Culture, is making its first visit to Ohio this month, said event coordinator Huiyuan Liu.

The festival features large illuminated figures representing important Chinese symbols that are best described as "light sculptures," she said. "It's a real taste of Chinese culture. Our Chinese dragon is six school buses long."

Lanterns play an important role in the New Year's celebration, Liu said. "On the 15th day of the Chinese New Year, we celebrate with lanterns," she said. "Typically, it's a day for families and friends to get together."

Families who visit the festival will find the sculptures set up among the trails of Ohio Department of Natural Resources Park at the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair. The event, which has been presented in a handful of U.S. cities, typically is held in a park to provide an interesting backdrop for the sculptures, Liu said. "We like to have different trails so families can experience it bit by bit," she said.

The Columbus display also will feature some Christmas-themed pieces, Liu said. "We hope people will like that."

The festival runs from Nov. 25 through Jan. 2. In addition to the light displays, visitors can watch a 30-minute show that includes traditional Chinese performers. The performance includes acrobats, which children really enjoy, Liu said.

Vendors will sell authentic Chinese food and goods.

"It's a fun way to experience a different culture," Liu said. "This is a unique way to learn. Not sitting in a classroom, but walking around and having fun."