Chinese lanterns are lighting up the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional hanging lanterns from China. But they can also see lanterns made in the shape of animals and famous works of art. These products were created by artists from a Chinese city that is famous for its lanterns.
At night, visitors to the lantern exhibit pass through red gates and enter a world of light, satin and steel. These people are surprised at what they saw.
“I did not know what to expect.”
This outdoor show at the Los Angeles County Fair is called Luminasia. “Lumin” comes from the word light, and “Asia” refers to China. Many visitors expected to see traditional Chinese lanterns. They were surprised to see lanterns in the shape of fish, frogs and even the Statue of Liberty.
Ge Liang organized the exhibit. He is impressed with these works of art.
“When I first saw the pictures I thought to myself, 'wow how can this be made?' It is very, very, fascinating to me.”
The unusual lanterns are a specialty from the Chinese city of Zigong. Artists from Zigong are famous for making lanterns. They built each one at the Los Angeles County Fair from beginning to end.
“They are trained at a very young age on how to make them.”
A team of 49 artists worked for one month to build these lanterns. The team included electricians, fabric experts, and metal workers.
Song Hui is one of the metal workers. He says he sees the results of his efforts become reality. Everywhere that they finish a job, they feel a sense of satisfaction. It reflects their value, whether it is in China or somewhere else.
Song Hui says not many Americans have seen this kind of lantern art. He says it helps publicize Chinese culture around the world and helps other people understand the culture.
Jim Henwood is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles County Fair Association. He says this presentation is a way for people of different cultures to better understand the Chinese community that lives in southern California.
“How do we bridge the ethnic diversity in a cultural environment that is important and significant here in southern California?”
One answer is Luminasia. Visitors can walk through the outdoor light show and see lantern art from legendary creatures like a dragon and phoenix. But visitors will also find some of the wonders of the world, such as the Egyptian Sphinx and the Easter Island statues. There are also lanterns for famous places in Los Angeles, such as the huge Hollywood sign.
Everyone, including Marvin and Mayra Fuentes and their young son, seems to have a favorite.
“The big dragon, I think, for myself.”
“I kind of like the Dodgers (baseball team) stuff - that was kind of cool. Cause it's so big and completely LA.”
It seems people of all ages can enjoy this wonderland of lights.
I’m Anne Ball.
*This report was based on a story from VOA reporter Elizabeth Lee in Los Angeles. It was written for Learning English by Adam Brock, and edited by George Grow.
Words in the News
culture – n. all the beliefs, traditions and arts of a group or population
effort – n. an attempt; the work necessary to
light – n. a form of energy that affects the eyes so that one is
able to see; anything that produces light; ad. bright; clear;
result – v. to happen from a cause; n. that which follows
or is produced by a cause; effect
statue – n. a form of a human, animal or other creature
usually made of stone, wood or metal