By Chloe Law
A massive arch towered over the entrance of the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden, its body lined with forest green lily pads and koi fish ranging from red, purple, blue, and orange. The words Moonlight Festival written in bright gold and embroidered in red sat atop the arch, nestled in between lavender lotus flowers. Almost immediately, I knew that I would love what the event had in store.
The Moonlight Festival is a lantern festival hosted at the Arboretum located in Arcadia from Oct. 26-Jan. 6. In contrast to other winter light festivals, the event boasts a walkthrough exhibition with lanterns inspired by Chinese culture and folklore.
Prior to the event, I purchased tickets online for Nov. 9. Although the website specified entrance times for the duration of the night, it was not required for people to arrive on time; I was able to enter at 6:00 p.m.. Past the entrance, I checked in, received a map, and was directed to a show that would start at 6:15 p.m..
Making my way to the start of the walkthrough exhibition, I was welcomed by several arches that reminded me of the game Candy Crush; several lanterns in red, blue, and yellow resembling candy were stacked on to create the arch and was topped with large peppermint swirls. Lanterns created based off the Chinese zodiacs followed the arches and led to the aquatic exhibit which was a blue gradient dome-like area that featured brightly colored sharks, jellyfish, and corals.
Through the duration of the walkthrough festival, I was greeted by a variety of lanterns: beautiful animals, exotic flowers and figures from Chinese legends. The lights themselves seemed to be crafted with quality; I noticed that none of the exhibits dark let alone missing a single light.
There were signs propped at corners and turns to direct the attendees to the next stop along with showtimes for the festival. The shows featured performances from Chinese acts such as hand jugglers, Bian Lian dance, and traditional Chinese dance.
Near the stage, booths with souvenirs such as stuffed animals and key chains were set up. Adjacent to the souvenir booths were food stands.
There were food trucks further down the route from brands such as BBQ Smokehouse, Son of a Bun, and Dreamy Creations.
Although the exhibition route was one mile long and was a estimated one hour walk, I ended up taking around two hours to complete the entire course.
The ticket price was $23 with an additional $4.43 fee for children ages 3-17. Adults were $28 and seniors above the age of 62 were $25. The weekday prices varied with adults being $25, children being $20, and seniors being $23. People with membership to the Arboretum are given a 15 percent discount at check out.
With amount of pictures I took to capture the memories and the pretty lights, the Moonlight Festival was definitely one for the books.