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The Chinese Lantern Festival made me feel like Alice in Wonderland. I was in awe of the bright, colorful lights and fun atmosphere. I felt tiny next to a tiger whose head was bigger than my body. Walking up to the ticket booth, I was already excited. I saw light displays that stretched out across Celebration Park at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and made the night sky glow. After my friends and I got in, we walked across a bridge with lanterns lining the ceiling. Around the park, I could hear Chinese music playing, which helped to set the atmosphere. Once inside, we spent almost two hours walking around looking at the larger than life displays. They had everything, a 30 foot dragon, beautiful archways and flowers, a huge fish display, moving dinosaurs and kangaroos and even cute animal displays like pandas and penguins. All of the light displays featured vibrant colors and glowed brightly.

There were over 30 displays, most taller than me. The Chinese Lantern Festival beats too tall Christmas trees and lights on the side of the building that you have to crane your neck to see. You can get up close and personal with most of the displays and they’re all three dimensional, something you don’t normally see with holiday lights. The Chinese Lantern Festival is also a great place to get fun and festive photos with your friends.

Aside from the beautiful lights, we were able to learn about Chinese culture. Next to each of the displays was an informational sign, explaining how it related to and represented China. They also had performances to showcase Chinese culture. Although they were fun to watch, they were a little odd; for example, a man pretended to be a panda, rolling all over the stage. I wasn’t a huge fan of the performances, though they did add something to the festival. It was also difficult to stand still for so long in the cold because my toes went numb.

It’s hard to explain all of the amazing light displays because you really have to see them to appreciate them fully, so I would definitely recommend you check them out. The festival is open nightly from 5:30 to 10 p.m. until Jan. 7, 2018. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $12 on Thursdays with a student ID. That might seem like a steep price to pay to see lights, but I think it’s mostly worth it.

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