Ohio’s Chinese Lantern Festival

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It just got cold outside. Really cold outside. The weathermen on TV used this as a news story; overeager to alert us about some serious winter weather coming. But it was also a clear, pretty night and I’d planned to go see the Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival in Columbus, Ohio, so I bundled up and headed 100 miles north because the festival would go on rain or shine, and I would still go to see it.

I wasn’t alone! There were big groups there, braving the cold at 9:00pm on a Friday night to see what the Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival was all about.

It was about lights.


And lanterns.


And traditional Chinese culture.


They had nightly performances of dancers, acrobats, and a face-changing man.


The performers were as talented as any I saw on my trips to China.

The acrobatic contortionists were almost painful to watch as they twisted themselves into all sorts of uncomfortable looking knots. They balanced two other acrobats on their legs as they each did one-handed handstands on top of each other. Later, they contorted themselves as they added a second trick: plate spinning while they bent themselves in half and kept the plates spinning above them.

The festival offers food, and handicrafts, and all sorts of lighted displays that represent symbols that are important in Chinese culture: lotus, fish, dragons, Zodiac animals, and — owls?

Apparently so.

The Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival is put on by Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc. This was the second year the Lantern Festival has taken place in Ohio. The event has been so successful that they have extended into January. It’s such a different experience to partake in during the winter season, but such a fun, unusual arts festival.

There are bright lights to see everywhere this time of year. But these 39-lanterns create a wonderland of bigger and brighter lights than any Christmas display I’ve seen!



20 responses to “Ohio’s Chinese Lantern Festival

  1. Is it only the second year? I thought about taking Wee One, but haven’t yet. (I took her to Zoo Lights and we both got sick, so we’ve been staying in since then!) Thanks for the recommendation, though!

  2. I’ve been to a similar event in Taiwan for Chinese New Year, but how great that this was for Christmas! I wonder if they’ll do another display for Chinese New Year. In any case, glad you got to experience the wonders of those giant lanterns. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Was this at the fairgrounds? I have been there for the Italian Festival (and of course the fair). I always like the Zoo Lights at the Columbus Zoo too. Hard to believe that it’s too cold this time of year but mom keeps telling me stories. She already rallied the neighbors to get more wood up to the house.

  4. Iโ€™ve never been to China, how wonderful that we can find such an authentic representation of the culture in an unexpected part of the US!

  5. I love going to Chinese lantern festivals – those lantern arts are really pretty and colorful! We have something similar in Calgary and we attend it every year!

  6. What beautiful photographs! Love the bright candy colors of the lanterns – particularly the fish and dragons. You’ve inspired me to look in Houston to see if we have anything like this, and we do! ๐Ÿ™‚ — So now I’m going, thanks to your inspiration. Thank you!

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