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10 Tips For Visiting The Chinese Lantern Festival

My family recently had the pleasure of experiencing the Hanart Culture Chinese Lantern Festival at the Pomona Fairplex.  Please read on for more information and some of our tips to make the most out of your visit to the Chinese Lantern Festival!Entrance gate at The Chinese Lantern Festival

We would like to extend a very big thank you to the Hanart Culture Lantern Festival for sponsoring our visit to the Chinese Lantern Festival.  And congratulations to Elaine- our winner of a Family 4-pack of tickets provided by the Chinese Lantern Festival!

What is the Chinese Lantern Festival?

The Chinese Lantern Festival is a fully immersive multicultural experience for the family.  You will be greeted by over 1,000 lanterns that tower up to 23 feet tall as you tour the grounds.  In addition to the lanterns, you will find the following experiences available to your family:

  • Mesmerizing Kung-Fu performances that may include free Kung Fu coaching on stage with the performers.Kung Fu demonstration at The Chinese Lantern Festival
  • Hand-crafted souvenirs available for purchase from Chinese artisans.
  • Interactive shadow puppetry shows with master puppeteers from China. Kids get to play behind stage too!Shadow puppetry at the Chinese Lantern Festival
  • A variety of Asian and American cuisines.Food at The Chinese Lantern Festival

Why are the Chinese Lanterns special?

Chinese lantern making dates back to the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.)!  According to George Zhao, president of Hanart Culture, “These gorgeous lanterns have evolved through the centuries, from when they were used for lighting, to an art form all their own.”  Chinese lantern festival celebrations take place world-wide and are a long-standing tradition in China.

Chinese lanterns are constructed differently, depending on their purpose.  Some were made with “the finest silk” for use in palaces.  While others use red gauze over bamboo- like those most widely recognized today.  There are even shadow-picture lanterns used to create moving pictures!Lanterns at the Chinese Lantern Festival

What type of lanterns will I see at the Chinese Lantern Festival?

The lanterns at the festival will be made with modern technology and materials.  All of the lanterns will be lit up with LED lights.  Some of the lanterns even have moving parts!  You will find that there is music streaming throughout the festival to add to the ambiance of the festival.

This year’s festival theme is, “The Wild.”  The lanterns will represent wild animals from the regions of America, Oceania, Asia, Antarctica, and Africa.  You will see pandas, cheetahs, elephants…oh my!

Undersea display at the Chinese Lantern Festival
Under the sea at the Chinese Lantern Festival

Animal lanterns at the Chinese Lantern Festival
The theme for The Chinese Lantern Festival this year is, “The Wild.”


How do I make the most of our experience at the Festival?

It doesn’t take much to enjoy the festival!  However, we have some tips to make the most out of your time there.


    1. Dress for the weather: We only needed a light sweater the night we went. However, an employee told us that the night before had an icy breeze blowing through the area.  Make sure you check the weather at the Pomona Fairplex before you head out and dress for comfort.
    2. Arrive early: We went on the third night that the festival was open and there were plenty of eager faces waiting to get in. Make sure to arrive early to beat the crowds and get the best up close pictures.
    3. Get the best seats during performances:
      • Check Kung Fu and Shadow Puppetry showtimes right when you enter the festival.
      • Try to arrive 10 to 15 minutes before the start of the performances.
      • Sit on the front benches for the Shadow Puppetry show if at all possible. This will allow your kids to see the show.
      • For the Kung Fu demonstrations, sit on the rock wall in front of the stage if possible. We originally sat on benches in front of the stage only to find that people were sitting and standing along the wall.
      •   Luckily, we arrived early enough to move and find a space in front of the wall to see the performances.
    4. For best picture results: Turn the brightness on your camera phone all the way down. My eleven-year-old taught me this trick!  It captured the lanterns so much better!  See my pictures below:
      Picture taken with regular brightness setting on phone camera- Chinese Lantern Festival
      Picture taken with regular brightness setting on phone camera.

      Picture with lowest brightness setting on camera phone- Chinese Lantern Festival
      Picture of Giraffe lanterns with the lowest brightness on the phone camera.
    5. Wear your walking shoes: There will be a lot of walking.
    6. Wear closed shoes: There is a mix of dirt and paved walkways.
    7. Strollers are welcome: With all of the walking, you might want to take a stroller for toddlers.
    8. Don’t miss the dinosaur ride-ons for little ones! There are little dinosaurs that little ones can ride on.  These are free and a quick pit stop between lanterns.  The dinosaur ride-ons roll and you can assist movement by pushing them along.

      Dinosaurs at the Chinese Lantern Festival
      Dinosaur lanterns at The Chinese Lantern Festival.
    9. Make sure that you see the entire festival of lanterns: As I mentioned before, there are so many lanterns to see!  I would say that there are three large main areas with lanterns.  Be sure that you don’t miss one.  The lanterns are located at the Glade, Picnic Hill, and the Lagoon at the Fairplex.

      Walkway with butterflies- Chinese Lantern Festival
      Keep walking past these butterflies to the pond. There are more lanterns!
    10. Parking: Park at Gate 1 if possible. You will want to park as close to the front gate as you can.  Trust me, you can’t miss it!

      Front Gate at The Chinese Lantern Festival
      The lit up front gate at The Chinese Lantern Festival.

Chinese Lantern Festival Information:

    • Tickets: Can be purchased online at the Chinese Lantern Festival website for $13-$21 or by visiting Goldstar and clicking HERE.  Children under 3 get in free! *Disclosure: I am a Goldstar Affiliate and might earn a commission from purchases made through this link.
    • Dates: The festival runs Every Thursday through Sunday, from November 15, 2018-January 6, 2019, plus holidays.
    • Hours: Gates open from 5:30p.m.-10p.m.
  • Last admission: 9:20p.m.
  • Parking: Cost is $12. Be sure to bring cash.
  • Location: The Pomona Fairplex, 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona, CA 91768

Enjoy your time at the Chinese Lantern Festival!  I hope that your family enjoys the multicultural experience as much as we did!

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