Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival

Annual holiday lights show brightens state fairgrounds

Ohio Chinese Lantern FestivalSee dozens of illuminated displays at the Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival, running 5-10 p.m. nightly, Nov. 17-Jan. 7, at the Ohio Expo Center and State Fairgrounds in Columbus.

Unlike drive-through light shows, the festival allows visitors free-range access of the outdoor space. Like an outdoor museum, you can inspect the craftsmanship of these elegant but sturdy lanterns up close.

We thought this year’s layout was much better than last year’s – the first year of the festival. There are many new lantern designs, such as a fun tunnel of Anime-looking critters and a dazzling, multi-story pagoda. The displays are located in the Natural Resources Park of the fairgrounds, which leads past Smokey Bear.

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Six weeks prior to the show, dozens of Chinese artisans assembled the lanterns in Columbus by stretching silk fabric over metal frames, a tradition that dates back thousands of years. They’re illuminated from within by bulbs and accentuated by thousands of LED lights.

The traveling show is produced by Tianyu Arts & Culture, based in Sichuan province of China. There also are nightly performances by Chinese acrobats and martial artists, as well as food and crafts.

Tickets are $15 for adults, and $12 for children. Discounts are available.

Learn more and purchase tickets at www.ohiolanternfestival.com.