The 2023 Chinese Lantern Festival is coming soon! This awesome tradition continues in Franklin Square for another summer.
June 21st through August 13th
Live stage performances include a mysterious face changer, dancers, and jugglers showcasing their unique skills. These performers from China will demonstrate incredible and impressive feats of strength, balance, and form. Enjoy three 30-minute performances each night of the Festival interspersed with Fountain Shows. Performances are free with Festival.
6, 6:30, and 7 pm – Fountain Shows
7:30 pm – Stage Performances
8 and 8:30 pm – Fountain Shows
9 pm – Stage Performances
9:30 and 10 pm – Fountain Shows
10:15 pm – Stage Performances
Buy tickets NOW!
New for 2023:
Free with admission, cultural immersion activities on Friday and Saturday evenings.
6:30 pm – Meet the Face Changer (30 minutes) – Take photos with a master of the ancient and traditional Sichuan art of Face Changing, featured as one of the performances during the Lantern Festival.
7:15 pm – Dumpling Workshop with Sang Kee Noodle House – Hear the history of dumplings and learn how to make these delicate bite-sized treats.
8:15 pm – Folk Dance Lesson (30 minutes) – Learn folk dancing from the Lantern Festival performers.
9 pm – Dumpling Workshop with Sang Kee Noodle House – Hear the history of dumplings and learn how to make these delicate bite-sized treats.
· Philly Mini Golf: Putt around the city on this Philadelphia-themed miniature golf course. $13 adults/$11 children (3-12), guests 2 years of age and younger are FREE with paid accompanying guardian
· Parx Liberty Carousel: A zebra, a lion, an eagle, horses and more! Hop on this spectacular all-American style carousel with hometown racehorse heroes Afleet Alex and Smarty Jones. $4 per person (adult or child), guests 2 years of age and younger are FREE with paid accompanying guardian
· Franklin Square Fountain Show: FREE choreographed “performances” of fountain jets dancing magically with dramatic lighting and music, both day and night. April 29 – October 31, with daily performances every 30 minutes from 12 pm until closing
· FREE Daytime Family Fun:
· A free Lantern Scavenger Hunt with a chance to win free tickets to ride the Parx Liberty Carousel. (Visit the Ticket Booth in Franklin Square for information.)
· One of six award-winning Once Upon A Nation Storytelling Benches is in Franklin Square. Tuesdays – Saturdays, 11 am – 4 pm, plus July 1- 4.
· Storytime in the Square. Wednesdays June 28, July 12, & July 26, 10:30 – 11:30 am – Join Franklin Square for a delightful program of stories, songs, rhymes, and dancing, exploring different themes each week. Storytime with Ms. Chen ends with bubbles and crafts (while supplies last). All children and caretakers are welcome.
· Raise a glass and enjoy the Dragon Beer Garden (open nightly until 10 pm). Hungry? Dine on delicious Asian food at Sang Kee and Oishii, or enjoy classic comfort food at SquareBurger.
· Pagoda Gift Shop: A variety of traditional and playful merchandise options will be for sale including hand-made crafts, festival-themed items, and colorful lantern-inspired gifts.
· Most of the lantern materials for the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square were created in China especially for this event and shipped in 20 40-cubic-foot containers to the port on New York via ship to the United States then transported by land to Philadelphia.
· The lanterns were created by over 80 people and assembled by a 30-person team of artisans from China over a one-month period in the Square.
· New in 2023, there will be a second dragon – a sea dragon as opposed to the popular fire-breathing dragon. The sea dragon is coiled to form a tunnel 100 feet long.
· The lanterns are created by hand on silk fabric stretched over steel frames and then lit with over 25,000 thousand LED lights (more than ever before!).
· To make the lanterns, the artists use 20,000 square feet of silk and 16,000 feet of electric cables.
· The giant dragon lantern is longer than three school buses and weighs 6,000 pounds. Standing 164 feet long and 21 feet high, the head was installed by a crane with a 15-person crew. There are more than 70 individual pieces that make up this one lantern.
· New in 2023, a giant Lingzhi Tree (a type of mushroom) will be on display for the first time and it is more than 33 feet high – the tallest lantern at this year’s Festival.
· There are over 2,000 pink cherry blossom flowers in the cherry blossom forest lantern.
· Besides the cherry blossoms, there are more than 500 flower sculptures including peonies, chrysanthemums, peach blossoms, and more. That is a total of 2,500 flowers throughout the Festival.
· On view are 180 animals including 25 pandas.
For centuries, the Lantern Festival has been a Chinese festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar calendar to pray for a good harvest, and gain favor of Taiyi, god of heaven. A legend tells of a god who wanted to punish humans by setting fire to the earth. An old, wise man hit upon an ingenious solution: he got people to light torches, lanterns, and fireworks to fool the god into thinking the world was already burning and leave mankind in peace. In ancient times, the lanterns were fairly simple, and only the emperor and noblemen had large ornate ones. In modern times, lanterns have been embellished with many complex designs such as the ones on view at the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival. Today, lantern festivals are still held each year around the country. Each major Chinese city has its own light festival which attract millions of visitors and tourists. During Chinese New Year, families go out to view the beautiful lanterns created by Chinese artists. Each light sculpture tells a legend or symbolizes an old Chinese story.
The lanterns are built with steel frames welded into outlined shapes, and then hundreds of LED lights are strung inside the lantern. Next, plain silk is wrapped and glued around each frame. Each lantern’s silk is hand-painted to create animals, flowers, patterns, and other designs to create each finished piece. Finally, when the lights are turned on, the silk glows in the dark. Craftsmen build the sculptures on the spot. In just a few weeks, Franklin Square is transformed into a magical wonderland. Each larger-than-life lantern will once again wow visitors with their amazing craftsmanship, cultural significance, and artistic beauty.
PARKING: Limited on-street parking is available surrounding Franklin Square. Visitors are encouraged to park at PPA AutoPark @ Independence Mall, located between 5th and 6th Streets and Market and Arch Streets at 41 North 6th Street, Philadelphia (directly underneath the Independence Visitor Center). Visit www.phillychineselanternfestival.org for further information on parking.