NewsLocal News


China Lights Festival returns to Hales Corners

Posted at 7:18 PM, Sep 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-11 14:47:20-04

The China Lights festival at Boerner Botanical Gardens will have more than 40 show-stopping lanterns, some two or three stories high.

On top of all that, this year's theme is Panda-Mania. A section of the festival is called Panda Alley, with hundreds of pandas doing all sorts of activities. Not to mention, there's also the worlds first and largest ping-pong lantern panda at the entrance of the gardens.  

The China Lights event manager, Huiyuan Liu, says the structure is covered in thousands of ping pong balls, making it a unique and symbolic lantern.

"Ping-pong is something very iconic for the Chinese. That's why we think it will be a great idea to combine that with lantern making," says Liu. 

She says the point of this festival is to bring an Asian cultural awareness to this part of the world. By highlighting pieces of Chinese culture through the numerous lanterns, it teaches visitors while also entertaining them. 

There are only 11 days util opening night, Friday, September 21st. The botanical gardens' director, Shirley Walczak, says this week is crunch time -- and that's both exciting and exhausting.

"The food vendors, the flooring, the tenting," says Walczak. "Everything, I mean all the last minute details for everybody to come."

While the ChinaLights crew continues to set up, garden visitors are able to get a sneak peek at how some of the lanterns will look. Two young friends, Neva Ensminger and Juliet Ahangar, were amazed by all the pandas. The one thing, both girls say, everyone has to see are two of the largest lanterns on site 

"The giant dragons," says Ensminger.

"The chicken dragon," says Ahangar.

Together both girls learn that the "chicken dragon" is actually a phoenix, and both laughed at the thought. 

China Lights Panda-Mania, runs from Friday, September 21st until Sunday, October 21st. Get more information here.