Chinese Lantern Festival lights up the night

Gorgeous lights of all sizes, colors and shapes run up and down hills to create scenes of nature in full bloom. The Chinese Lantern Festival had its grand opening on Nov. 21 at the Pomona Fairplex. The festival will run through Jan. 5, 2020. 

The theme for last year’s festival was The Wild. This year, the theme is Blooming Seasons. 

As guests walk through the festival, they get to experience the blooming of each season. The layout of the festival hasn’t changed much from last year because of how nicely the pieces flow together.

According to, “Guests will experience a unique light display inspired by nature. Imagine a journey — deep into a vast wonderland filled exotic flowers, trees, insects, mammals and reptiles in their natural environment. Explore the hillside which features brilliant lanterns depicting the Amazon Jungle.”

Kelcie Hartley | The Poly Post

The whole festival allows visitors to experience both old and new Chinese traditions. Traditional instrumental music plays in the background all around each exhibit. Guests can choose from a few different vendors to try a variety of Chinese dishes.

George Zhao, president and producer of the Chinese Lantern Festival said, “In the early production stage in China, we have over 100 artists that worked for over a month for us. We had another team of 30 that worked here for four weeks to do the set-up.”

This is the second year the festival has taken place on the Pomona fairgrounds. Some of the biggest lanterns reach up to 30 feet high, and a detailed ceramic dragon stretches 100 yards long. Festival worker Alyssa Martin said, “It’s really pretty; my favorite piece would have to be the dragon.”

Zhao went into details about the extreme detail and care that goes into each lantern. “All the pieces are transported in containers that are 40-foot-long all the way from Southwest China to here. 

This year’s Chinese Lantern Festival is filled with the beauty of nature and exotic mythical creatures.
Kelcie Hartley | The Poly Post

All the pieces are wrapped up with foam sheets but still, there can be some wear and tears and the team members who came here do the repairs and repainting.”

Each festival has a new theme which affects the style and which artists will want to create specific lanterns. “There are eight chief artists that were involved in the actual design and creation for this special theme. All the rest are lantern makers and artisans,” Zhao said.

A new addition this year is the children’s area full of interactive creatures for children between 4-12 to ride. Zhao said, “I created the concept because those are believed to be the mythical creatures that are commonly seen in video games. The kids might be interested in riding the creatures if they have played the games.”

High attendance is anticipated by Zhao for the entire festival season. “I’m hoping to have somewhere around 80,000 to maybe 100,000,” Zhao said.

Tickets can be purchased at The festival is open 5:30 p.m.–10:00 p.m. on Thursdays-Sundays through Dec. 12, and nightly from Dec. 19 to Jan. 5.

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