Chinese Lantern Festival Brings Culture and Fun to Cary


The North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival has become one of the most anticipated winter traditions statewide, running from November 24 – January 14 and bringing a host of exciting and fun traditions of the Far East to Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre.

With over 20 all new displays, the Chinese Lantern Festival hosts over 25 Chinese artisians and performers that build their incredible hand made lanterns that are on display for this one of a kind event. There are only four of these type events annually across the country, with Cary joining Columbus, OH, Little Rock, AK, and Indianapolis, IN in hosting the Chinese Lantern Festival.

On the Koka Booth Amphitheatre website, they list the following fun facts about the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival:

  • Lanterns on display are lit with more than 15,000 LED.
  • The spectacular Chinese Dragon lantern is longer than three school buses and weighs 18,000 pounds. Standing 200 feet long and 21 feet high, the dragon floats on Symphony Lake in Cary. Fun fact: its head was installed by crane with a 15-person crew!
  • Visitors enter the festival through huge scarlet lantern gates, in the form of a four-story pagoda with spinning upper floors.
  • Each lantern is created by hand on silk fabric stretched over steel frames and then lit with upwards of hundreds of LED.
  • Lanterns are made exclusively for this event and shipped from China into the North Carolina Ports.
  • It took 19 tractor-trailers to deliver this year’s lanterns. That’s up from 13 in the first year, and 15 last year.
  • Lanterns are mainly made in only one city in China: Zigong, Sichuan, the lantern capital of China for thousands of years.
  • Many of our visiting artisans’ lantern-crafting skills are passed down from one generation to the next.
  • Most traditional Chinese lantern festivals are celebrated on the 15th day of the first month in the lunar calendar, marking the last day of the lunar New Year. This tradition dates back 2000 years!
  • In ancient times, lanterns were fairly simple and only the emperor and noblemen had large, ornate ones. In modern times, lanterns have been embellished with complex designs such as the ones on view here in Cary.
  • The prominence of red in the designs symbolizes good fortune

For more information on this years North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival, visit Koka Booth Amphitheatre’s official site at