Chinese Lantern Festival Comes to Philadelphia

The stunning lantern display comes to Franklin Square from June 21-August 7.

The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival is coming to Franklin Square this June and bringing with it a celebration of Chinese culture. The stunning display has traveled to numerous cities throughout the United States with live performances, vendors and fun for the whole family. 

Tickets start at $20 for adults and $12 for children, with discounts available for teens, seniors and active-duty military personnel. We talked with Amy Needle, President & CEO of Historic Philadelphia, Inc., about the festival in Philadelphia and what guests can expect to see and enjoy this summer. 

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Whale Rendering at Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival (Courtesy Jeff Fusco for Tianyu)

Inside the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival to Franklin Square

WT: What brought the “Chinese Lantern Festival” to Philadelphia?
Needle: Tianyu Arts & Culture approached Historic Philadelphia, Inc. to bring the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival to Franklin Square because of its location close to Philadelphia’s Chinatown and geographic presence in the Historic District. Returning for the first time in three years, the spectacular Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square is a celebration of light and culture with magnificent steel-framed, and silk-wrapped giant lighted sculptures. 

The 2022 Festival will illuminate Franklin Square at 6th & Race Streets in Historic Philadelphia from June 21 – August 7, 6-11 p.m. nightly, with over 30 larger-than-life displays radiant in brilliant colors.

WT: The display has been viewed in numerous other cities around the country; will the display in Philadelphia be different in any way?
Needle: The entrance gate is customized for each city, and in Philadelphia, the entry is a giant lantern version of the Friendship Arch in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. The artists are building the Temple of Heaven, which is a big attraction that hasn’t been exhibited for years to highlight the Philadelphia festival. 

Gate Rendering at Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival | WhereTraveler
Gate Rendering at Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival (Courtesy Jeff Fusco for Tianyu)

 WT: How many lights are used for the “Chinese Lantern Festival?”
Needle: There are 32 total lantern groupings with about 500 pieces created. A total of over 20,000 LED lights are used to illuminate the lanterns.

WT: Are the different displays arranged to make use of the current structures in the park?
Needle: There are four dramatic tunnels that are custom-built for the four major pathways in Franklin Square, as well as a grand entryway designed specifically for the 6th & Race streets gateway. The Philly Mini Golf course will have additional special lighting designs added as well. 

WT: What makes the “Chinese Lantern Festival” a fantastic outing for families?
Needle: The lanterns are fun for all ages, as guests will see pandas, a giant whale, the 200-foot-long dragon and many more amazing creations. There will be several fun interactive lanterns in the Festival, as well as a variety of live performers from China who will demonstrate incredible and impressive feats of strength, balance, and movement. In addition, Franklin Square has Philly Mini Golf presented by IBEW Local 98 and the Parx Liberty Carousel, which are fun for young and young-at-heart alike.

WT: What is your favorite part of the “Chinese Lantern Festival?”
Needle: At Historic Philadelphia, Inc., we are excited to bring the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival back to Franklin Square for the first time in three years and to welcome audiences who have been waiting for this special event. 

It is a privilege to partner with our friends in Chinatown to showcase this exquisite part of Chinese culture and share it with visitors from around the Greater Philadelphia region and across the country. We are looking forward to the lanterns, the live performances, and a brand new fountain show created for the Festival! 

Pandas at Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival | WhereTraveler
Pandas at Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival (Courtesy Jeff Fusco for Tianyu)