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Giant lanterns festival lights up Las Vegas and will celebrate Chinese New Year

Giant lanterns festival lights up Las Vegas and will celebrate Chinese New Year
An illuminated dragon is reflected in a pond at the China Lights lantern festival in North Las Vegas. The exhibit was created by artisans in Sichuan province. (Sam Morris / Las Vegas News Bureau)

Just in time for Chinese New Year, 40 larger-than-life illuminated lanterns made by Chinese artisans are now on display in an outdoor park near Las Vegas.

China Lights is a traveling exhibition with displays created by workers from Zigong, Sichuan, an area known as the cultural capital of lantern-making in China.

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A silk face is seen in this detail from one of the 40 oversize Chinese lanterns on display at China Lights in North Las Vegas.
A silk face is seen in this detail from one of the 40 oversize Chinese lanterns on display at China Lights in North Las Vegas. (Sam Morris / Las Vegas News Bureau)

Workers use state-of-the-art animation and LED lights covered in silk to create giant dragons and pandas, as well as fish and flowers.

The display is open nightly through Feb. 25 at Craig Ranch Regional Park in North Las Vegas, about 8 miles north of downtown. The festival coincides with the start of Chinese New Year on Feb. 16 and is open daily from 5:30 to 10 p.m.

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A family of pandas made with silk stretched over LED-illuminated forms greet visitors to China Lights.
A family of pandas made with silk stretched over LED-illuminated forms greet visitors to China Lights. (Sam Morris / Las Vegas News Bureau)

In addition, visitors will find food vendors serving Asian and American dishes, and live entertainment by Chinese performers, including acrobats. Performance times are 6:30 and 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, and 6:30, 8 and 9 p.m. Fridays through Sundays.

The festival adds Chinese New Year parades, additional displays and fireworks on Feb. 16.

Terracotta warriors, modeled after the clay soldiers that guard the tomb of China's first emperor, are transformed by light.
Terracotta warriors, modeled after the clay soldiers that guard the tomb of China's first emperor, are transformed by light. (Sam Morris / Las Vegas News Bureau)

Lighted lanterns have been part of Chinese tradition for thousands of years. In Zigong City, 80,000 artisans continue to work at nearly 400 lantern-making companies.

Tickets, available on the China Lights website or at the event, cost $20 for adults and $12 for children ages 5 to 17, and seniors 60 and older. There is a $10 surcharge, and limited availability, for the Chinese New Year celebration on Feb. 16.

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Visitors walk among lighted flower lanterns at China Lights, which continues through Feb. 25.
Visitors walk among lighted flower lanterns at China Lights, which continues through Feb. 25. (Sam Morris / Las Vegas News Bureau)

The park is about a 40-minute drive from the resorts along Las Vegas Boulevard.

Info: China Lights, Craig Ranch Regional Park, 628 W. Craig Road, North Las Vegas; (888) 484-2698

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