How was your experience?
The lanterns (well, the amazingly colorful lit objects of all shapes and sizes) were quite beautiful!! As for the overall experience, it was lacking in that it just didn't seem well enough organized. For one, music for the park – playing through the speakers throughout – was turned up too high creating bad distortion (ruining some of the ambience). There were too few personnel and/or security for an event of this size (hence I had to go to one of the vendors to mention the distortion problem). The very bright main park lights greatly reduced the effects of the lanterns; maybe they were at full brightness for security reasons (?). I would rather have seen a few security folks and reduced or eliminated park lights. I may be wrong but it seems to me that during the 2012 state fair, the area encompassing the Lantern Festival portion was lit ONLY by the beautiful lanterns (meaning, the beautiful Thanksgiving tulips, Chinese dancers, Chinese barges, etc. made from colorful lantern material). The acrobat show was nice, although I didn't see any signs indicating showtimes etc. – if present, it wasn't obvious. Another point: the pre-show music playing was about as far off from the theme of this beautiful Chinese festival as anything could be – a lot of modern music incl. Country (I love it but not there) even including "Dubstep!" I'd say as much as anything, this preshow music really went against the grain of everything the Chinese Lantern Festival is supposed to mean. (NOTE: the music DURING the act was perfect.) The (one tiny) food booth just didn't fit correctly with the surroundings. It was more like a tent serving a very limited menu. It also was missing the festival/Chinese stylings etc. Missing was a nice, theme-infused food booth - bright & charming, with better selection (and missing were Chinese folks running the booth- I mean at least that should be a given). There were hundreds of people there just that one night (funny, seemed like "thousands" of cars in the parking lot!) thus, there were plenty of people who would have been happy to have a better selection & themed space & would be happy to spend more money, I'm sure. In summary, in that they're expecting many many thousands of people now through the 1st week in January when it ends, they would do very well to: – Add security and park personnel to help people and make them feel safer - Make sure the audio (music) is kept at correct levels – Address the lighting situation to skillfully be more adapted to this event – Have a professional catering company of some sort create a real nice THEMED food kiosk – Possibly improve signage for the acrobat show. – It would not be a great expense to have 10 to 20 Asian people who are Chinese (or look the part) dressing in beautiful colorful authentic Chinese costumes (a colorful types of garments most folks equate with agent Chinese traditions, etc.) greeting people and smiling and waving and giving picture opps and saying hello to the kids etc. Themed greeters may be the biggest missing element (?) and probably the least expensive way to bolster the experience by DOUBLE. If they just were to add greeters and reduce the big bright park lighting to accentuate the beautiful colors of the lanterns, you'd have a whole new festival and a lot more positive reviews! Add a great food experience? And you'd have the best Chinese festival in the country hands down! Ari R