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 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?
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!