Largest US lantern festival planned for Houston

Updated: 2015-11-02 06:32

By MAY ZHOU in Houston(China Daily USA)

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Largest US lantern festival planned for Houston

An Siyu, founder and president of People Generation Global Communications, talks about making the Magical Winter Lights into a regular Houston tradition. MAY ZHOU / CHINA DAILY

How about strolling through Asia, Europe and Africa all in one place? This Christmas season, local residents and visitors in Houston will have a chance to experience these places and more in festive light structures from southwest China.

The 2015 Magical Winter Lights (, produced by the People Generation Global Communications (PGGC), will make its US debut in Houston at Sam Houston Race Park, announced An Yusi, founder and president of PGGC.

The company has partnered with China Zigong Lantern Festival & Trade Co (CZL), one of the premier lantern companies in the world based in Zigong, Sichuan province.

Set to be the largest lantern festival ever staged in the US, the 52-day event will run daily at the Houston horse track from Nov 20 until Jan 10, 2016.

Dubbed "Lantern Town in the South Kingdom", Zigong is the originator of the Chinese Lantern Festival, which has been copied in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The lantern show has been brought to many cities in China and some outside of China, such as Dallas and Miami.

However, with 120 lantern sets for the show, it will be the largest show in the US in term of scale. The organizers also intend to make it an annual tradition in Houston.

According to PGGC, approximately $6 million is invested by Sichuan PG Salient Cultural Trade Co to to make the festival the most comprehensive and captivating of its kind in the US.

"Magical Winter Lights aims to create a brand-new holiday light-show experience to Houstonians of all ages," said An. "We are excited to partner with a top-notch lantern company from China to start a new holiday tradition for Houston families for many years to come, and in more cities throughout the US in the future."

Different from the traditional Christmas holiday lights, the Chinese lanterns create larger than life well-known landmarks and landscapes throughout the world. "There will be Temple of Heaven from Beijing, Eiffel Tower from Paris, and a 150-feet Christmas tree, " said An, adding that more than 60 lantern artisans from China are busy putting the structure up.

The America section will feature lantern sets that Houstonians and Texans can easily relate to, including their hometown sports teams, Western stockyards and the Houston skylines.

Carnival rides and games, international and local food vendors, cultural performances and exhibitors featuring Chinese intangible cultural heritage crafts also will be present at the lights festival. There will be interactive lantern sets where kids can climb up and take a photo.

An, originally from Zigong, was educated in the US and resides in Houston. She said she's confident this festival will be a success based on market research, social media feedback and tickets pre-sale.

"I would say 98 percent of social media feedback is positive. I feel excited and honored to bring this wonderful tradition and unique art from my hometown to my new home city," said An.