When:opens Saturday; 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and weekends from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., through May 31
Where:Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W. Sligh Ave., Tampa
Tickets: admission is separate from zoo admission; $24.95 adults, $22.95 seniors age 60 and older, $19.95 for children age 3 to 11, free for children age 2 and younger; www.lowryparkzoo.org/lantern
An example of one of the many lantern displays that will be on display at Zoominations at Lowry Park Zoo. D. MCGIRR
BY VALERIE KALFRIN Tribune correspondent
Published: February 26, 2015 | Updated: February 26, 2015 at 10:56 AM
When: opens Saturday; 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and weekends from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., through May 31
Where: Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W. Sligh Ave., Tampa
Tickets: admission is separate from zoo admission; $24.95 adults, $22.95 seniors age 60 and older, $19.95 for children age 3 to 11, free for children age 2 and younger;www.lowryparkzoo.org/lantern
A 30-foot-tall Chinese gate at the Lowry Park Zoo entrance acts as a red-and-gold threshold to wondrous sights: illuminated displays of giant temples, dragons, lotus flowers, even pandas in a bamboo forest.
Zoominations is the official name of the Chinese lantern festival the zoo hosts nightly Saturday through May 31, but organizers have another word handy.
“Magnificent,” zoo spokeswoman Rachel Nelson said. “It’s the first time the southeastern United States has hosted a large-scale Chinese lantern festival.”
The festival celebrates the ancient art of Chinese lantern-making, which began roughly 2,000 years ago during the Han Dynasty, organizers say. The festival includes Asian cuisine and a Chinese artisan marketplace around a replica of Beijing’s Temple of Heaven. The real temple, built in 1420, is larger than China’s Forbidden City. The replica is 39 feet high and 59 feet long.
Forty craftsmen from VYA Creative Lantern Co. in the Sichuan Province in China constructed the displays. They feature symbols of Chinese history and culture, such as arches decorating Zoo Boulevard in the form of sashes tied at the waists of hanfu, or traditional clothing. Most of the lanterns are made from steel frames covered in silk and lit with LED lighting. The craftsmen also used 10,000 pieces of blue-and-white porcelain cups, bowls, spoons and plates to form a 52-foot-tall replica of Manfeilong Pagoda at the site of the zoo’s Manatee Fountain. The real pagoda was built in the year 1024 and is dedicated to Hinayana Buddhism. It also is called the Bamboo Shoot Pagoda because of its overall shape.
Other displays include an array of goldfish and lotus flowers, symbolizing good fortune and spiritual purity, in Lake Sharon and a bamboo forest with playful pandas around the Jungle Carousel.
The zoo’s executive team had been presented with the opportunity to bring the festival here, in part because of the zoo’s large Asian habitat, Nelson said. The festival also has appeared in London, Toronto and Beijing.
Colorful Displays At Chinese Lantern Festival
CBS Dallas-Fort Worth
Speaking through an interpreter, Li Zhongwen, the craftsmen’s general manager, said the crew typically worked before the zoo opened or after hours, sometimes during the night, to build the displays without disturbing visitors.
The zoo offered reporters a preview of the festival on Feb. 19, the traditional Chinese New Year. To thank the craftsmen, about 30 children from the zoo’s preschool wished them a Happy New Year in Mandarin, causing smiles from the workers. The children also carried a Chinese dragon they’d made, decorated with tinsel, construction paper and tissue paper around the Asian Gardens.
Yue “Meredith” Li, a zoo intern who is a graduate student at USF, acted as a translator during the preview. The 26-year-old native of China marveled at the detail, such as the fan-like lanterns above the Asian Gardens boardwalk that she said were like the palace lanterns the emperors’ wives would paint with bamboo brushes to compete for his affection.
“It’s amazing,” said Li, who has lived in the U.S. for five years during her education. “I never saw signs like this in America.”
Dear GCAA, SCA, USCPFA, SCAS members, families, friends and affiliates,
Happy Chinese New Year 2015, The Year of The Goat !
Special Announcement For February:
Sarasota's is again the proud host city for the very special World Cup Pentathlon Competition (世界杯現代五項比賽) will take place from Feb.17th through Feb. 21st.
GCAA key volunteers will be very involved with greeting and arrangements for the needs of the Chinese delegation consists of 6 Olympian athletes and 2 coaches. We also will volunteer to assist Benderson Park in setting ups and greetings of guests etc.
The Chinese delegation will spend Chinese New Year in Sarasota and we are contacting them to plan what can be prepared for them to make them feel at home in Sarasota during the New Year with very litttle spare time with their busy engagements in five full days of rigorous sports competition.
We regret to inform all our friends that GCAA will not be able to host our previous annual Chinese New Year Celebration this year in Sarasota due to severe lack of volunteer performers. As an alternative, we urge you to join the various celebrations in Tampa instead.
The 2015 Pentathlon World Cup Competition
GCAA HAS SECURED FREE tickets for our spectators. China won Silver Metal last year in the all over competition while Russia took Gold and Ukraine took Bronze.
It will be a spectacular event, we hope you will join us to be volunteers or spectators for this world cup event.
Again, GCAA will have free tickets for ALL.
For GCAA, USCPFA, SCAS, SCA, AWCLWR members, friends and families.To request complimentary free tickets ( Regular $12 value per ticket) please email Irene Leung at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not hit reply to this email as your reply will be buried among hundreds of other emails. Thank you.
The Olympian Class Athletes compete in different cities all over the world plural times a year. Language barriers do not deter them from admiring each other's strong abilities.
Although they compete with each other, they also have developed great camaraderie and mutual admiration for each other with no boundary of nationality. The athletes also voted Sarasota as their FAVORITE destination by far. They LOVED Sarasota's relaxed life style, our gorgeous beaches, the climate and friendly people. They are comparing Sarasota to huge cities like Rome,London and Moscow, which can be impersonal if the cities are too big with incredible traffic jams that overwhelm the intrinsic beauty of each city when the athletes are on a tight schedule.