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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.
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.
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
• Mariachi America
• Piñata Bash
• Tamales, Chips & Salsa, Tequila Shots
• Rainbow Maze
• Irish Dancing
• Loaded Mashed Potatoes, Irish Coffee, Fizzy Leprechaun Punch
Photo Courtesy of Shankar Kathiresan
1950s United States
• Hula Hoopers
• Sock Hop
• Corn Dogs and Coke Floats
• Gypsy Fortune Tellers
• Pygmy Goats
• Viennese Beef Soup and Apple Strudel
• Little Rock Central High Madrigal Singers
• Stilt Walkers and Fire Eaters
• Bratwurst and Turkey Legs
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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