Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival 2016

This year Columbus, Ohio hosted the 7th Chinese Lanter Festival by Tianyu Arts & Culture.

Ohio Chinese lantern fest (1)

Sichuan Tianyu, located in Zigong, China, is the parent company of the U.S. based Tianyu Arts & Culture. They design and produce Chinese lanterns and create unique carnival experiences.

The festival has 15,000 LED lights that showcase beautiful Chinese culture. Their largest lantern attraction, the dragon, is about 120 feet long and almost 3 stories high. The head alone weighs over 600 pounds!

When & Where

November 25-January 2, 2016 (Now open until the 8th!) November 17-January 7, 2017

5:30 pm-10:00 pm every day, open Holidays

717 East 17th Avenue, Columbus, OH, United States

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Admission

Adult: $15
Youth: $10 (17 and under, children under 2 are free)
Military: $12
Senior: $12
Family Pack: $40 (2 adults, 2 youth)
VIP Package: $25

Buy tickets here!

Parking

$5 parking fee

There is a lot of parking since it is held at the Ohio State Fairgrounds.

Food

They had some food options. This included some Chinese cuisine and standard fair food. The prices for food is about what you’d expect at a fair. You can purchase alcohol there. We saw one stand that was frying snickers so beware if you have allergies!

Restrooms

They have port-o-potties available around the festival.

Shopping

Other than food, they did have some vendors but not many. They have trinkets and souvenirs as well as some very unique items. My favorites were the hand made palm weaving creatures.

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The Experience

My husband and I went on a Thursday night about two hours after opening. We bought our tickets online which I recommend doing! Some people waited over 30 minutes to buy tickets on site.

It was lightly snowing when we went which made the experience very magical. The opening lights were beautiful and it was cool being greeted by spinning windmills!

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They had a lot of neat lanterns. It ranged from animals to people, to plants. Some moved but most did not. The displays were sectioned off a bit by themes which were scattered throughout. My favorite was the animal displays.

One thing that was neat was that they included some signs that talked about the various displays. Some told the history and folklore of the different lanterns which gives you a good opportunity to learn more about Chinese culture.

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If you’re curious about what Chinese Zodiac animal sign you are they have an entire lantern display dedicated to the Chinese Zodiac signs. My husband and I were born in the year of the pig.

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Most of the displays they have are lanterns but they had one dragon display that was made up of lantern parts as well as little glass bottles full of colored liquid. It was really cool and I recommend taking the time to take a close look at this particular display.

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There were a lot of people there when we went for being a rather cold and snowy night. It wasn’t so packed that you couldn’t walk around but enough so that I almost got trampled a couple times trying to take pictures. The food court area that is set up in the natural resources building, which is not closed off so it does not have heating, was absolutely packed.

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We spent about an hour walking around looking at the displays. Had we been with a group or if you have kids, it may take longer to get through. I honestly can’t imagine how packed it is on the weekends. It was really busy for a Thursday night. You can walk at your own pace but that also depends on how packed it is when you go. There’s at least some cool music playing as you walk around.

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They also have performances every night which is included in the admission cost. You can see them at 6:30 pm & 8:00 pm Sunday-Thursday and at 6:30 pm, 8:00 pm, & 9:00 pm Friday & Saturday. We left right before the last performance was going to start because the snow and wind were beginning to pick up so we thought we should try getting home before it got worse.

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This is a great place to take kids. They have a lot of animal lanterns that range from realistic to cartoonish. They also have an entire Finding Nemo display and a lantern Santa!

Overall we had a great time at the festival. I do hope they return again and I recommend going if you can!

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You can learn more here and like their Facebook page to see if they might be coming to a city near you!

Did you go to the Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival? What did you think? Let us know below!