Sunday, December 31, 2017

Chinese Lantern Festival 2017 - Cary, NC

Koka Booth Amphitheatre
8003 Regency Parkway
Cary, NC  27511
(919) 462-2025

Entrance to the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival 


This is a review of the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival for the 2017-2018 season. We visited on Saturday the 30th of December at 7:30 pm. The festival started on November 24th and it ends on January 14th 2018. It opens at 6 pm and they close at 10 pm. Once you turn on to Regency Parkway, you'll find the free parking lots on the left side once you past the Koka Booth Amphitheatre. Tickets cost $15.00 per adult. Children two years and under and free and children ages three to seventeen are $10.00. Discounts for seniors, college students and military are only offered on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday, if it doesn't fall on a holiday. They are closed on Mondays. You can purchase tickets at the entrance or online for an extra charge. It took us twenty-one minutes total which included waiting in line, purchasing tickets and getting through security to make it inside the festival. We didn't want to pay the extra charge to purchase tickets online in order to skip the line. There was also a line for cash transactions, but it didn't seem to be moving any faster than the credit card line. Once past security, here's what you'll see:


Entrance Filled with Lanterns

Once past the walkway of lanterns it opens up and you can see many more decorations and the stage. Grab a brochure since it explains the decorations and it has a map showing where they all are. It can be a bit confusing without a map. The food cafe on the right called Cobblestone Courtyard was closed. Only the Crescent Cafe was open and it's located near the stage. To get there walk to the left and to the rear. They only had one window open and there wasn't a long line. Their menu is quite limited though. Next to the stage on the right was one Asian food truck. There weren't a lot of food choices, so I recommend having something to eat prior to your arrival. Here's the beautiful swan decorations we saw first:


Be sure to click on the photos to enlarge them for a better view. We walked to the right and down a slight hill. We came across these lovely displays:






Once you are at the bottom of the hill you will come to the stage where they have acts at 6:30 pm, 7:30 pm and 8:30 pm. I recommend showing up about five to ten minutes early to be able to stand in the front row. We were able to catch a bit of the 7:30 pm show. Then we continued to walk around and headed towards the animated dragon. If you are facing the stage with the ticket office behind you, you'll find the dragon on your right side. Here's two videos showing him spitting water, 2nd one is close up:





The dragon attracted most of the attention from guests, so I'd say he was the star of the show. Here's some photos:





As you continue along the sidewalk, you'll find these adorable pandas:





and some cute squirrels:



We walked back towards the amphitheater and found this lovely tunnel that connects to the Crescent Deck area:



Also located there is another animated decoration:



We returned to the amphitheater ten minutes prior to the 8:30 pm show, so that we were in the front standing row for a better view. The shows last for about twenty to twenty-five minutes. Here are some videos of the performances we saw:





After the show we left. To exit go back up the hill towards the ticket office and walk to the left side of the building where it says restrooms and walk past the restrooms to the exit. The indoor restrooms are closed and they have a couple of porta potties nearby. 

It was an enjoyable evening activity which took an hour and half. There are some gas heaters located near the stage and the Crescent Deck dining area. Unless you are standing right next to it you wont feel any heat, so I advise that you dress warmly. Long coats, scarfs, boots and gloves would be advisable. Allow for one hour, if you already have your ticket upon arrival and aren't going to eat there. Allow for an hour and a half, if you are going to be waiting in line to purchase a ticket and already ate. Allow for additional time, if you plan to eat on location, but be aware there is a limited selection of food and beverages. What's your favorite thing to do in the Triangle? Have you been to this festival? If so, please comment below. I'd love to hear what you thought of it. Another Asian activity that is coming up is Shen Yun. Stay tuned for my review, in the meantime be sure to check out my restaurant reviews for the triangle. Visit my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews Board to see them all. Click on the one that interests you and it will take you to the matching blog review.

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Have a PEACEful Day!


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