Experience the Magic of Canada’s Largest Chinese Lantern Festival: Aug. 31 to Oct. 14

Back in 1988, Winnipeg commemorated its new sister city relationship with Chengdu, China, by sending over a pair of polar bear cubs in exchange for a pair of giant pandas. This summer, our city will celebrate the 30th anniversary of that twinning with an epic Chinese lantern festival.

From Aug. 31 to Oct. 14, Lights of the North will take over 10 acres of Red River Exhibition Park with millions — yes, millions — of LED lights. With the venture costing $4 million and requiring the work of almost 100 Chinese artisans for a total of six to eight weeks, you know it’ll be incredible.

Among the 50+ lantern exhibits (lanterns appear in many traditional Chinese celebrations as a symbol of luck and hope), which will feature common items such as plates, plastic bottles and ping-pong balls, you’ll see icons that represent both China and Manitoba.

The Canadian Museum of Human Rights will be displayed in all its dazzling glory, as will the legislative building and even some polar bears. But the festival’s spectacular visuals are just the beginning.

There will also be traditional performances like acrobatics, Kongfu, Sichuan Opera Face Changing (Bian Lian), fire-breathing, plate spinning, kicking bowls and Chinese folk dances. Artisans from Chengdu will also be selling their handmade goods alongside tons of food (both local food trucks and authentic Chinese) and beer gardens, where you can sit and watch the late-night fireworks.

The kids (and all you Jurassic Park fans) can also visit Dinosaur World, which offers augmented reality experiences as well as life-size walking dinosaurs. You can even create your own dinosaur on a giant Lite Brite screen or ride a bicycle to generate electricity to light up a central display.

Tickets for Lights of the North are now on sale and go for $20 (children/seniors) and $25 (adults), while children under four get in free. But … if you buy your tickets before Aug. 20, Lights of the North will give you 15% off AND a chance to win an all-inclusive trip to see polar bears in Churchill.

Get your tickets and more information here.

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