China Lights coming back to Milwaukee next year

Popular Chinese lantern festival drawing large crowds

200-foot dragon lantern

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:13 pm

China Lights, the traveling Chinese lantern festival on display at the Boerner Botanical Gardens at Whitnall Park in Hales Corners, will return for another run next year.

Because of the overwhelming popularity of the event, Boerner recommended attending during the week.
Because of the overwhelming popularity of the event, Boerner recommended attending during the week.

Festival Productions Inc., the Milwaukee production company producing the show on behalf of Milwaukee County Parks, confirmed China Lights’ 2017 return, with a run that will again begin in mid-September.

“We think that it’s successful and we’d like it to come back,” said Ralph Garrity, president of Festival Productions. “We asked them if they would come back. We wanted to have it multiple years.”

Garrity said discussions about a second run started when Festival Productions was first arranging the exhibit with the Sichuan Provincial Department of Commerce. The Milwaukee metro area was one of only 100 cities around the world chosen by the Chinese government to host the traveling light show as part of a five-year campaign to promote cultural exchange.

And Milwaukee isn’t the only city where China Lights is popular. Spokane, Washington also has arranged for China Lights to appear in that city for a second year, Garrity said.

He doesn’t yet have attendance figures for the 2016 festival, which has been extended to run through Nov. 6. But crowds have far surpassed expectations.

“We’re trying to get through the last 10 days, which are difficult because there’s so many people coming,” he said.

China Lights runs Tuesdays through Sundays from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and children over 5. More information, including traffic and ticketing updates, is available at

View a photo gallery of China Lights here.

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