The Far East has come to Eastern Washington where they're celebrating Chinese New Year early, like never before!
In the dark of night, traditional Chinese lanterns lead the way to a magical garden of light. The glowing show of 31 sculptures was a first for the Northwest last year.
“Most people here like this dragon,” said Sam Song. “Who doesn't like the dragon? It's one of my favorites as well.
Sam Song helped bring the Chinese Lantern Festival to Spokane's Riverfront Park.
“It's personal for me because I have lived in Spokane for over 11 years,” said Song. “With this event, I am able to connect my root to my home in America.”
This is a large-scale look at how China celebrates the New Year and a company based in Sichuan traveled here to share it with us.
“We are trying to bring the spirit of what we usually have during the Chinese New year,” said Jessie Li, “because we also have this Chinese Lantern Festival every New Year in China.”
Jessie Li made the trip from China to Spokane with an entourage of artists, frame makers, electricians, seamstresses, and painters.
It took the team five months to complete the display that includes playful pandas and a field of tulips you would never see in the Skagit Valley.
Chinese Lantern Festival in Spokane
“And we also bring something that means good, that means fortune in Chinese like the elephants,” said Li.
Goldfish and monkeys symbolize good fortune too.
In a grand display they honor and age-old festival that's new to the northwest.
“This is over a thousand years of culture of Chinese lanterns,” said Song. “It is a very unique event.”
And the lanterns are only the beginning! The festival also includes Chinese cuisine and spectacular shows by professionals from China.
You can experience the Chinese Lantern Festival day or night in Spokane until October 30th.