The last several years there has been a Dragon Lights Festival in Columbus. Each year we tried to find time to go with John and Jackie and this year we finally made it. Of course, we also went on one of the coldest nights in the last couple of months!
The Dragon Lights Festival is a product of Tianyu Arts and Culture Inc. Their mission is to “bring China to the world through cultural displays.” The Dragon Lights Festival moves from city to city and has been displayed all over the United States from Spokane to Tampa. The lights are most often associated with Chinese New Year, but the displays take place at different times of the year in the United States. Because of their association with the New Year, I decided to post these on our New Year’s Eve!
The Chinese lanterns are made from silk and wire, so they are delicate and strong at the same time. Many of them are animated and all are illuminated from inside. Each lantern sculpture is a work of art.
Because we went on a very cold weeknight, there weren’t a lot of people at the Dragon Lights Festival. We walked into a large building with vendors. There were two large food booths – Chinese and American – and some people selling cheap “Chinese” items.
At the other end of the building, a lighted stage held a performance of Chinese acrobats. We came in the middle of one show but enjoyed watching the acrobats spin plates while contorting their bodies and moving around the stage. They were very skilled! Then we pulled on layers of winter gear and headed out into the frigid air (I think it was 13).
The Dragon Lights are set up so you follow a path around all the sculptures. We walked through a beautiful squid tunnel and passed rows of flowers. Most of the items were larger than life with gorgeous vibrant colors. A small play area gave us a chance to interact with the lights as we walked on plates that changed color when we stepped on them and hung in colored swings. There were lots of pandas, dragons, and fanciful sea creatures.
I think we would have enjoyed it more if we had gone on a warmer night, but it was still beautiful. We stopped at every heater along the way and tried to warm up our numb fingers. Although we didn’t dally as we walked among the displays, we appreciated the beautiful colors and exuberance of the dragon lights. We were glad we saw them and, if we go again, we will definitely pick a warmer night.