Auckland Lantern Festival lights up

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People view the Chinese lanterns while they were on display in Albert Park. Photo / Getty Images
People view the Chinese lanterns while they were on display in Albert Park. Photo / Getty Images

The 17th annual Auckland Lantern Festival takes place in its new location of Auckland Domain from Thursday 18 February to Sunday 21 February.

Tonight is the festival's 'lantern-only night', when all the lanterns are lit for viewing, without performances or stalls operating. It runs from 7pm - 10.30pm.

The full festival programme, with roaming and main stage performances as well as food and craft stalls, runs from 5pm - 10.30pm Friday - Sunday, culminating in a fireworks finale on site at10.15pm.

ATEED Lantern Festival producer Eric Ngan says festival-goers who have been daunted by large crowds in the past will find the new festival layout makes for a new festival experience.

"In recent years, crowd density was the one thing some festival-goers have mentioned as a factor which dampened their enjoyment of the festival," says Eric Ngan.

"We initiated the lantern-only night to provide the chance for people to experience the magic of the lanterns in a less crowded setting, and it proved popular with people not so keen on the crowds, families with younger or older members, people with limited mobility and those navigating around the park with prams, pushchairs and wheelchairs.

"This year we not only have the lantern-only night on Thursday, but our new Auckland Domain location means the full festival is spread over an area 25 per cent larger than ever before."

The Auckland Lantern Festival features more than 800 lanterns installed in Auckland's oldest park, from Thursday 18 - Sunday 22 February. From Friday - Sunday, the festival also features music, dance, acrobatics, magic and puppetry performances, martial arts demonstrations, food and craft stalls, and a fireworks finale on site at the Domain.

Festival-goers also have the chance to cast their wishes on principal Lantern Festival sponsor ASB's digital wishing tree; get a photo with Air New Zealand's Boeing 737 cockpit; and get free souvenirs and photos and win prizes from the festival sponsors, including a trip for two people to China or a night's luxury accommodation at SkyCity.

- The Aucklander

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