Southern Nevada provides multiple ways to celebrate Chinese New Year, from elaborate floral displays to art exhibits to lion and dragon dances.
The coming Year of the Dog, however, will light up with a new local celebration: China Lights, a lantern festival launching a six-week run Friday at North Las Vegas’ Craig Ranch Regional Park.
The star attraction: more than 40 oversize lantern displays featuring high-tech lighting and animation, including an illuminated dragon 200 feet long and three stories high.
“We travel everywhere with the dragon,” according to event manager Huiyan Liu of the Sichuan Tianyu Culture Communication Co. Ltd., which has brought China Lights to cities around the world, from Sydney to Spokane, Washington, the first U.S. festival site.
Las Vegas is an ideal festival site because of its established Chinese New Year tradition and large Asian population, she notes.
And Craig Ranch Regional Park is an ideal setting because of its expanse. With trails stretching about three-quarters of a mile, “around each corner there is a surprise,” Liu adds.
Beyond the lights themselves, China Lights includes performances — from acrobats to a quick-change mask artist — as well as Asian cuisine and artisans demonstrating Chinese crafts. For complete details, visit chinalightslv.com.
■ What: China Lights lantern festival
■ When:5:30-10 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays, Jan. 19-Feb. 25
■ Where:Craig Ranch Regional Park, 628 Craig Road, North Las Vegas
■ Tickets: $12-$20 ($10 surcharge on Feb. 16 for Chinese New Year), $30 VIP pass, $50 season pass (chinalightslv.com)