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Arizona Chinese Lantern Festival returns to Peoria

PHOENIX — The Chinese New Year begins Thursday but there’s no need for Valley residents to head to the Far East when the west Valley has a sizable celebration of its own.

The Arizona Chinese Lantern Festival is returning to Peoria for its second year at Rio Vista Community Park near Thunderbird Road and 83rd Avenue and its organizer said it’s a slice of the ancient tradition.

“This is centered around the festival of fights, which is a 1,500 year old tradition that dates back to the Han Dynasty,” said Steven Miley who is in charge of marketing and public relations for the festival.

Thousands of lights will illuminate 20 full-scale Chinese lanterns on display at the park, Miley said.

“These are handmade silk lanterns,” he said. “We have one that’s two stories tall, most of them are life sized — they’re 40, 50 (or) 60 feet long.”

The lanterns are lit up every evening at 5:45 p.m. Miley said, with each one telling a story that visitors can read about as they walk through the three-acre festival.

Besides the lights, Miley said there will also be performances every hour demonstrating everything from Kung Fu and Tai Chi to traditional Chinese dancing and cooking.

Miley said the event is a family affair with tickets costing $15 for adults. Children and seniors can receive discounts.

The Arizona Chinese Lantern Festival will run every evening until Sunday, then return the following week on Thursday, Feb. 26 and remain open until Sunday, March 1.

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