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Wildwood Park LANTERNS! Festival



LANTERNS! takes place during the weekend of the first full moon of the Lunar New Year which is also referred to as the Chinese New Year. The Lunar New Year began on February 19th and this year the LANTERNS! festival took place on the weekend of March 6-8.

The Wildwood Park for the Arts is located just off Kanis Road in Little Rock. The parks botanic gardens offer visitors a quiet respite from the city all year round. They offer a host of art and music education programs throughout the year. Performances, classes and programs to promote art and music are also regularly scheduled.

On the weekend of LANTERNS!, Wildwood Park is transformed into a magical forest of light as visitors are guides through the parks paths by the light of campfires and luminaries.

Lanterns Paths

Throughout the park you will find areas representing six different cultures from around the world. This year the areas focused on the United States during the 1950’s, Shakespearian England, Mexico, Asia, Austria and Ireland. Each cultural area will feature music, performances, food and beverages. Each booth is run by volunteers, community members and area school groups.

All of the money raised at the LANTERNS! Festival goes to support programs offered at Wildwood.

Lanterns Festival Collage 1

Here are a few of the highlights from the event:

• Calligraphy Demonstrations
• Sushi, Egg Rolls, Sake, TsingTao Beer
• Performances by the Little Rock Central High Violinists

Lanterns Fire Pit

• Mariachi America
• Piñata Bash
• Tamales, Chips & Salsa, Tequila Shots

• Rainbow Maze
• Irish Dancing
• Loaded Mashed Potatoes, Irish Coffee, Fizzy Leprechaun Punch

Lanterns Festival Collage 3
Photo Courtesy of Shankar Kathiresan

1950s United States
• Hula Hoopers
• Sock Hop
• Corn Dogs and Coke Floats

Lanterns Booth

• Gypsy Fortune Tellers
• Pygmy Goats
• Viennese Beef Soup and Apple Strudel

Gypsy Fortune Tellers

Shakespeare’s England
• Little Rock Central High Madrigal Singers
• Stilt Walkers and Fire Eaters
• Bratwurst and Turkey Legs

Lanterns Festival Collage 2

The LANTERNS! Festival was a lot of fun. The food was fantastic and the entertainment enjoyable. The event was perfect for families with children. The 2016 LANTERNS! festival is scheduled to happen around the third weekend if February.

Upcoming programs at Wildwood include Junior Naturalist Camp, The Mulligan Brothers, WILDKids Cook, Marc Cohn, and the Wildwood Academy of Music & the Arts 2015 Summer Program. You can find out more about Wildwood on their website.

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Julie Kohl works from home as a writer and virtual assistant while raising her young son. A former Yankee who was "converted" to the south by her husband, Julie has grasped on to rural life in a sleepy, blink-your-eyes-and-you'll-miss-it town in central Arkansas. Julie loves adventure. Not necessarily "scare-your-pants-off" adventure but the kind where you seek out new and exciting things. New foods, new places, new experiences. On her blog, Seek Adventures, Julie shares about the outdoor and travel adventures of her family as they camp and standup paddleboard across the South. You can also learn more about her writing on her site Seek Adventures Media.

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