ChinHistoric Philadelphia, Inc. announces the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square which will take place in the Square from April 22 to June 12, 2016. The Festival, appearing for the first time in the Northeast United States, is a celebration of light and culture that features artisans from China and the Philadelphia region. For seven weeks, Franklin Square will glow with more than 25 larger-than-life illuminated displays of giant flowers, a three-story pagoda, a huge Chinese dragon and much more, created using traditional Chinese methods with thousands of LED lights in brilliant colors. In addition to the gorgeous light installations, festival-goers will enjoy daily performances, culinary exploration, crafts by working artists, and still be able to play mini-golf, ride the carousel, and enjoy Center City’s best play place during the spring and all year long.

Throughout the 2016 season, Historic Philadelphia, the non-profit that manages and operates Franklin Square, will celebrate the 10th Birthday of the award-winning Square, which received a $6.5 million initial investment to create an urban oasis and family play place in 2006. In the ensuing decade, Historic Philadelphia, Inc. continued to improve the park’s amenities from the Franklin Square Pavilion which hosts events and parties year-round, to the Franklin Square Holiday Festival featuring the Electrical Spectacle holiday light show, to plantings and maintenance of the green space on an ongoing basis. The 10th Birthday year will be filled with special events and surprises in addition to a permanent gift to the Square.


Amy Needle, President and CEO of Historic Philadelphia, Inc. said, “Franklin Square’s 10th Birthday will be a fun-filled year, and we’re excited to kick it off with the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square. Historic Philadelphia, Inc. is thrilled to be bringing this amazing showcase of Chinese culture to Philadelphia while partnering with local artists and chefs to create a rich experience for our visitors.”

The lanterns for the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square will be created in China especially for this event and sent via container ship to the United States. The 25 displays will include brilliantly-colored lanterns of representations of spring, charming animal figures, and iconic Chinese symbols and such as a 200-foot dragon, pandas, peacocks, lions, swans, and figures wearing traditional Chinese costumes, among others. The lanterns will be placed all around the seven-and-a-half acre Square, and guests will walk among the displays each of which contain hundreds of LED lights. In addition to the lanterns, nightly entertainment will include performances and artists showing off their traditional crafts, as well as a variety of food options. The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square is produced by the Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc. and its parent company, Sichuan Tianyu Cultural Transmission Co., Ltd. in cooperation with Historic Philadelphia, Inc. Visitors can learn more here:

Background on Chinese Lanterns and Lantern Festival

Traditionally, the Lantern Festival is a Chinese festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar calendar marking the last day of the lunar New Year celebration dating back nearly 2000 years. In 2016, the date falls on February 22. Due to the cold winters in Philadelphia, Historic Philadelphia decided to hold the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square in the spring, allowing visitors to enjoy more time with them outside, and incorporating symbols of spring into the design. In ancient times, the lanterns were fairly simple, and only the emperor and noblemen had large ornate ones. In modern times, lanterns have been embellished with many complex designs such as the ones on view at the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square. The prominence of red in the designs symbolizes good fortune.


Franklin Square will be open during regular daytime hours. After 6 pm, the Festival requires tickets for entry. Tickets are available at the Festival entrance or online at For groups of 20 or more, please contact Group Sales by calling (215) 629-4026 x209. The Franklin Square Pavilion can be rented for birthday parties, corporate events, and special events. For information on booking a special event or party in the Pavilion:


About Franklin Square

Fun family entertainment and a beautiful park are just steps away from the Liberty Bell, in one of William Penn’s original five squares, and the only one dedicated to fun. Award-winning Franklin Square is a family-friendly play place located in the heart of Historic Philadelphia, featuring Philly Mini Golf, a vintage marble fountain, playgrounds, the Parx Liberty Carousel, and SquareBurger. After a day of experiencing the treasures of Philadelphia’s history, putt through some of the city’s most famous icons, take a ride on hometown racehorse heroes Afleet Alex or Smarty Jones aboard the carousel, and relax next to the refreshing fountain.

Franklin Square is an initiative of Historic Philadelphia, Inc. (HPI).  HPI makes our nation’s history relevant and real through interpretation, interaction, and education, strengthening Greater Philadelphia’s role as the destination to experience American history. Historic Philadelphia, Inc.’s programs include the Betsy Ross House, Once Upon A Nation storytelling and immersive walking tours, and Franklin Square. For more information, visit Follow HPI at and, on Facebook at or, or on Instagram