A Chinese Lantern Festival Pops Up In Lauderhill For The Holidays

Dec 21, 2017

A Chinese Lantern Festival that’s been traveling around the U.S. and Canada has come to Broward County for the holidays, showcasing traditional Chinese music, Kung Fu and dance, as well as hundreds of traditional hand-made lanterns that light up the night.  

 

If you walk into Central Broward Regional Park, next to the soccer players practicing in the stadium there’s a gate that glows yellow, pink, red and green. It’s made entirely out of lanterns. 

It leads to a garden of more than 800 handmade Chinese lanterns. 

 

The theme for this year's festival in Broward was 'the wild.' All of the lanterns are animals, flowers and even dinosaurs.
Credit Caitie Switalski / WLRN

The festival's producer is George Zhao. He immigrated from China to Toronto in 1999. And, earlier this year, he brought the festival to Boca Raton. He described the authentic lantern-making process: First, a wire frame is wrapped in light bulbs. Then it gets covered in colorful rayon material. 

“Those represent the craftsmanship originating [in] China 2,000 years ago,” he said. 

John Jacoby was one of the spectators who came to see the lanterns. 

“It’s just amazing: the detail, and how much time it probably took to do this,” Jacoby said.

It actually took more than 15,000 hours to set up the lanterns in the park. Each one was hand-made by someone in Southwest China. 

Marie Giglio is a Coconut Creek snowbird, originally from Boston. She said she was impressed by the live Kung Fu performance in the garden.

“It was exciting, full of energy,” Giglio said. 

 

Next to a traditional Chinese shadow puppet show, there's an artisan marketplace. Each vendor came to Lauderhill from the Southwest region of China.
Credit Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Her friend, Christine Feeney, agreed.

“The kids did a good job,” she said. “Very flexible!” 

The Chinese Lantern Festival runs  from 5:30 to 10 p.m. every day through Jan. 15, and ticket prices vary.  The park is at 3700 NW 11th Place, Lauderhill.