Winter festivals are sure to bring about the holiday spirit

For the fourth consecutive year, the Winter Lantern Festival is coming to New York in four different locations, each with its own unique experience.  The festival is created by Kaleido Arts & Entertainment, originally known as NEWYORKEE (New York Events & Entertainment).  The Winter Lantern Festival was established on the principle of creating and sharing opportunities for people to learn more about the beauty and artistry of Chinese lanterns.  Of the four locations, one takes place at the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn.  This is the second straight year that the museum has hosted the festival, and this year, it started on Nov. 3.  Visitors can experience the alluring Drive-Thru Adventure, with acres of captivating and dazzling lights. 

 “We believe that when it comes to culture, contribution is celebration,” said the Kaleido team. 

This year’s theme is outer-space, which is different from last year’s theme of “A Bug’s Night.”  The drive-thru experience stretches 50 acres, containing over 2,000 lanterns and 1,000,000 LED lights.

 “This spectacular pageant of Asian culture, created specifically for the 145-acre garden, is an unforgettable voyage for families to enjoy,” said museum director Charles Riley in an article from La Voce di New York.

People of all ages are welcome to visit, and prices are $50 per car, with an additional $5 service fee.  The drive-thru is open from Thursday to Sunday, starting at 5 p.m. and ending at 8:30 p.m., except on Saturdays, when the drive-thru closes at 9 p.m.

 “It was such a fun experience that really opened my eyes to the beauty that can be made of something we use in our everyday lives.  It’s such a cool way to portray the energy of the holidays,” said freshman Abigail Zlotoff.

The event isn’t closing any time soon.  Jan. 8 will be the last day of the festival, and if you aren’t able to attend the festival in Roslyn, there are three others, two being in New York City, while the other being in Suffolk County.  What makes the Winter Lantern Festival in Roslyn unique is that it is the only drive-thru experience out of the four. 

Illuminate The Farm at Queens County Farm in Little Neck is more of an immersive experience.  The event began on Nov. 11 and is ending on Jan. 8, and in this location, visitors will find a collection of resplendent, handcrafted Chinese lanterns.  Among these lanterns, there will also be numerous illuminated tunnels, illuminated swings for children to ride on, and sparkling lights.  Hours are from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays through Sundays, and tickets for General Admission cost $26.99, while Youth (ages 3-12) tickets cost $17.99. 

The other New York City event is Journey To The East at Staten Island’s Community Park.  This event began on Oct. 21, and it is open until Jan. 8.  This year, there are over 1,000 lanterns, with some being over 30 feet tall.  They are inspired by the Chinese myths and legends, including a lantern of the Monkey King, Sun Wukong.  At the park, you can also find luminescent tunnels, swings, an animal kingdom, and concessions with food vendors.  Visit on Fridays through Sundays, from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

“We are so happy to host this festival here and share our diverse culture with you. Lantern festivals are so important in our country, and are so popular and meaningful.  We hope sharing them with you fosters a stronger understanding between the U.S. and China,” said organizer of the festival’s opening ceremonies, Huang Ping. 

The last event takes place at Smithtown’s Historical Society in Suffolk County, which began on Nov. 4 and ended on Jan. 8.  This event centers around the theme of nature, and features displays and lanterns of farm animals, mushrooms, dinosaurs, and more.  If you want to experience and immerse yourself in the holiday spirit, make sure to visit these events.