“Bigger and brighter than ever:” China Lights drew 110K visitors to Boerner Botanical Gardens

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MILWAUKEE — More than 110,000 visitors made their way to Boerner Botanical Gardens in Milwaukee County to check out the China Lights lantern festival in 2017.

China Lights: The Magic Returns was a celebration of Asian culture featuring 50 larger-than-life sculptural lantern displays illuminating 10 acres at Boerner Botanical Gardens. The festival celebrated Asian culture with professional entertainment, a bustling marketplace, and a wide variety of food and beverage options. The event ran from Sept. 22–Oct. 22, with a week-long extension to Oct. 29.

In a news release, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele stated:

“We promised that China Lights would be back this year bigger and brighter than ever. The overwhelming response to this event exceeded even those high expectations. It has been a joy to share China Lights—and our world-class park system—with Milwaukee County residents and visitors from 44 states and the District of Columbia!”

China Lights Wisconsin 2017

Based on the number of photos taken by visitors, the most popular lantern display was the 200-foot dragon and the accompanying phoenix. Also frequently photographed were the Porcelain Tower, made of 60,000 porcelain bowls, bottles, cups, plates, and spoons; Chinese Zodiac, with arches representing the 12 signs; Love Gallery, an archway made of a series of heart shapes; and Graceful Swans. Among families, favorite memories captured were of their children pedaling a bicycle to light an elephant display—known by staff as “Pedal the Pachyderm.”

China Lights Wisconsin 2017

In addition to the dazzling lantern displays, two stages offered performances by professional entertainers from China. Also in both stage areas were food vendors with an array of Asian and Western food options from Kowloon Chicken to hot dogs.

China Lights Wisconsin 2017

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