As the largest lantern festival producer in North America, Tianyu Arts & Culture has produced over 62 festivals in 32 cities. One might envision lit lanterns floating through the sky, only to later land and contribute to pollution. In contrast, the events managed by Tianyu are stocked with reusable, colorful and educational displays that often emphasize nature and animals.

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A Tianyu peacock lantern lit up amid nature.

While entertainment is an obvious goal, Tianyu believes the lantern festivals can, and should, focus on conservation and the environment. To this end, the festivals highlight fun facts about the animals and objects represented by the lanterns. 

Related: Dande-lier: Everyday objects transformed into stunning art in Singapore

A Tianyu dragon lantern on water.

The Tianyu team works with parks, zoos and botanical gardens to ensure accurate representations of nature. In alignment with educational goals, the current festival features many endangered animals from all categories of birds, land mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish in their natural habitats. Some extinct species are also included. Tianyu believes that festivals can facilitate the spread of valuable information that can help protect wildlife

A Tianyu dragon head lantern.

Despite the pandemic, Tianyu’s outdoor festivals have attracted record audiences over the last two years. In 2022, Tianyu will host more than a dozen festivals in locations such as Philadelphia, Reno, Chicago and more. Due to the lanterns’ durability, festivals can occur year-round without damage from the elements. 

A large, fantastical animal lantern.

The company explained, “Tianyu’s custom lanterns use traditional materials such as wire, metal, silk, and wood and incorporate innovative lighting, animation, interactive components, and creative materials into their displays.”

Several bird lanterns.

Tianyu lantern festivals are custom-made to meet the needs of the hosting facility. For example, in addition to animal lanterns, Tianyu also helped create a rotating Van Gogh-inspired walk-through tunnel. Other displays appear on the water or suspended in air, captivating visitors at every turn. 

A lit up tunnel for a Van Gogh exhibit.

With a goal to entertain and engage, the Tianyu team said, “Inventive new displays incorporate guests’ movements to make the lanterns interactive, like a Pufferfish lantern where visitors step on a pedal to fill the fish with air. One exhibit allows guests to ride bikes alongside mechanical lantern monkeys where the monkeys match the pedal speed of the visitors. Tianyu’s production team created a parrot lantern that visitors can talk to; the parrot can mimic words and act on specific commands. A new heart-shaped lantern lights up when visitors touch its handrail after holding hands or sharing a kiss.”

+ Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc. 

Images via Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc., Fred Ernst, Edmond Wong, Bobbi Sheridan and Marvin Sandoval