Debuting in Cary …

Something new and shiny is taking place this holiday season in Cary, for you to experience!

For the first time, the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival is lighting up Koka Booth Amphitheatre, now through Jan. 3.

“This is a great opportunity for citizens of Cary and beyond to experience a breathtaking holiday event unlike any they have seen before,” said Doug McRainey, director of  the Cary Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department.


More than 20 exhibitions of colorful lights and lanterns are on display to bring Chinese culture to the Cary community, including illuminated dragons and panda bears and more enchanting displays.

“Each of the displays is comprised of hundreds of parts and thousands of LED lights,” McRainey said. “Koka Booth Amphitheatre was chosen to host the Chinese Lantern Festival because it provides the perfect outdoor setting in which to view the incredible light displays.


“The vivid colors and bright lights are amplified not only by the layout and walkways of the amphitheatre, but also by the reflections that are created by the adjacent Symphony Lake,” he said.

In addition to the light displays, there will be weekend performances by various Chinese artists, plus food and beverage stands.


The Lantern Festival can be traced back in Chinese culture to more than 2,000 years ago. It is said that Emperor Hanmingdi from the Eastern Han Dynasty declared that all people should light lanterns to honor Buddha on the 15th day of the first lunar month.

Over time, this turned into a special festival for the people and is now typically held the last day of the Chinese Spring Festival or Chinese New Year.


The Cary festival is open Sundays through Thursdays from 6:30 to 10 p.m., and Fridays and  Saturdays from 6:30 to 11 p.m.

Purchase tickets through or at the Booth Amphitheatre Box Office. For children ages 3 to 17 tickets cost $12, while adult tickets are $20. There is also an option to purchase a four-pack of tickets for $50. Discounts are offered for seniors, students and military personnel.

For more information, and to download a free Light Guide, go to

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