China Lights opens tonight at Boerner Botanical Gardens

See photos of festival's 41 illuminated lantern displays

The displays are 95 percent new from last year's event.

Chinese lantern festival China Lights kicks off Friday evening at Boerner Botanical Gardens at Whitnall Park in Hales Corners.

The fourth annual event runs Sept. 13 through Oct. 20, featuring 41 handmade illuminated sculptures on display throughout the garden’s nine-acres grounds. China Lights in past years has attracted more than 100,000 visitors to Whitnall Park.

This year’s theme, “Treasures of China,” pays homage to cultural and historical icons such as the Great Wall of China and Emporer Quin’s Terracota Army, recreated as lantern displays.

Ranging from three-feet to three-stories high, the displays are 95 percent new from last year’s event, organizers said.

The festival also includes an expanded interactive exhibit area with new motion- and- touch-sensored sculptures, two stages for Asian folk-culture performances, a marketplace, two dining areas and vendors offering a variety of Asian and Western menu options.

China Lights is open Tuesday through Sunday from 5:30 to 10 p.m., with nightly entertainment beginning at 6:30 p.m. General admission is $20 for adults and $12 for children. Tickets can be purchased here.

The Chinese Lantern Festival is a collaboration between Festival Pro LLC, a Milwaukee-based special-events producer and the Sichuan Tianyu Arts & Culture Inc., in cooperation with Zigong City and the Sichuan Provincial Department of Commerce. The presenting sponsor is Tri City National Bank, and Tianyu Arts & Culture Inc. organizes China Lights.

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe Meyer started as an intern reporter at BizTimes in summer 2015. She currently covers entertainment, sports, tourism and restaurants. In May 2017, she graduated with a journalism degree from Marquette University where she worked as an in-depth projects reporter for the Marquette Wire and Marquette Tribune.