Looking for a cultural weekend activity that’s great for a solo trip, a date or an outing with your family? This weekend I took my family to the Chinese Lantern Festival at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens (DSBG) in Belmont, NC. The festival runs from 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. now through October 29.
The #DSBGLanterns are happing now through October 29. Here is what you can expect when you visit. Click To Tweet
Walking into the gardens felt like walking into a theme park. The entrance was decorated with colorful lights, shapes and beautiful animals. The lanterns were created by masters of the craft in Zigong, China, then shipped nearly 9,000 miles by trains, trucks, and ships to DSBG. Though traditionally made of silk and paper, the lanterns are handmade with metal frames and a colorful rayon material.
My kids couldn’t contain their enthusiasm! Even one of my 15-month-olds exclaimed “wow, oh wow” over and over as we entered the Garden gates. One of the first vignettes you will see once out on the main lawn has a 23-foot jellyfish standing tall among other beautifully lit lanterns. My son, who is on the Autism spectrum, concluded that the vignette scene models the ocean (yes, the exhibit is special needs friendly).
The Chines Lantern Festival features a food truck alley, shadow plays, a children’s craft area, various bars for the adults and a Chinese folk art marketplace. The event is great for any age – I saw everyone from babies to great grandparents attending the event. One of the major attractions, other than the beautiful lanterns, is the Kung Fu Show at 6 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.
After walking through the various vignettes, we made it just in time for a front row seat to the Kung Fu show. Five vibrant performers twirled swords, parasols, and performed well-choreographed routines to the delight of the crowd. After the Kung Fu show ended, we made our final stop at the food truck alley where we could get everything from dumplings at Dumpling Girls, to sliders at Queen City Sliders, and a festival favorite, turkey legs at Jive Turkey Legs (cool name, right?).
In addition to the Chinese Lantern Festival, DSBG has other Asian culture classes scheduled for the month of October including The Art of Feng Shui, Modern Cambodian Dance for Kids, Photographing Lanterns, Intro to Tai Chi, Seasoning Your Life with Haiku and a Watercolor Workshop.
Want to go? The festival has been pretty popular since opening September 7, so if you plan to visit, try to get there early when it opens at 5:30 p.m. Get your tickets online at www.DSBG.org.