Lantern festival lighting up Leeds this winter is full of Eastern promise

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By Jessica Greenway

THE UK’s biggest Chinese lantern festival will light up Roundhay Park this Christmas.

The lantern trail, which takes 75 minutes to navigate, features more than 30 handmade giant lantern installations, most made and imported from China.

It will be open in Leeds from Friday November 25 to Monday January 2.

The festival will include Chinese dragons the length of three buses with 40,000 light bulbs being used to create the giant lanterns.

The Yorkshire Lantern Festival has teamed up with the Jane Tomlinson appeal, a charity that raises money for children’s and cancer charities. Both organisations say they have come together to promote the family event.

magical-lantern-festival-6Ian Xiang, the festival’s co-founder and creative director, said: “Lantern festivals have been happening all over Asia and China for more than 2,000 years, but are still new to the west.

“I came here to make the festival happen, it has taken me four years to get it started and I wanted to let people experience and understand the importance of the lantern festival as I did growing up in China.

“After the success of our first in London last year, we had to come to Yorkshire. Roundhay Park is and amazing place for us to illuminate and celebrate both Christmas and the upcoming of Chinese New Year.”

The display has a different theme for each section of the park. Tropical World has an under the sea theme and they have even made a white rose especially for Yorkshire this year.

More than 18,000 tickets have been sold so far. The Lanterns arrived yesterday and preparation is now underway.

Mike Tomlinson, husband of the late Jane Tomlinson, said: “It’s great to have the support for our charity from this completely new and exciting festival for Yorkshire.

“The plans for it look amazing and hopefully it’s something that can run long into the future.”

Coun Christine Macniven, who represents Roundhay, said: “I looked at it with a frown, but when I looked into it I was instantly converted, it’s breathtaking and truly sensational.”

She will be attending the event with her family to get the Chinese Christmas experience.

The event will also have live entertainment, a small fun fair, virtual reality, street food cuisine from around the world an ice skating rink and a Santa’s grotto.

Tickets cost £12.50 for an adult, £8.50 for children and £38.00 for a family of four ticket.

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