Cary, NC – In just its fourth year, the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival in Cary has surpassed 100,000 visitors in one run, setting a new attendance record.
New Record by 12,000+
The 2018-2019 run of the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival, which ran at Koka Booth Amphitheatre from Friday, November 23, 2018 to Sunday, January 13, 2019, brought in 102,851 visitors. This broke the previous record from 2016-2017 of 90,501 visitors.
“This year also had the highest attendance in a single day. 7,767 people came on Saturday, December 29,” said Lyman Collins, Cary’s cultural arts manager.
While Collins said attendance varies each year based on weather, the festival still broke attendance records even with several instances of inclement weather this year, including a snow storm in early December.
Each year brings new cultural performances from Tianyu Arts and Culture, Inc. but this year not only had new dancers and acrobats but every single lantern was new, including a brand new dragon.
“This year, we had interactive lanterns, which added interest,” Collins said.
Among the interactive lanterns was the large drum at the entrance that people could beat, as well as a “wheel of fortune” to spin and a large heart that visitors could ask questions to and get responses.
Not only does the Chinese Lantern Festival bring in visitors from around North Carolina, but it also sees travelers come from around the country and even as far as Canada and China.
“A lot of it is social media. It’s good for creating word of mouth,” Collins said.
The festival has also been covered in newspapers outside of North Carolina. Also, Collins said there will be an article about the festival in the coming year in Our State magazine, which Collins hopes will spread the word about the festival even more.
The fifth North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival will take place starting November 2019.
Story and photos by Michael Papich.