PNE Chinese Lantern Festival shines

Chinese Opera lantern

The Chinese Lantern Festival has been lighting up the night at the PNE since December 15. If you haven’t had a chance to visit yet, this weekend is your last chance to experience the largest festival of its kind in Canada.

Spread over 14 acres of the PNE Hastings Park site, 35 intricate, illuminate Chinese Lantern displays bring colour and character to the winter nights.

Pagoda

 

Dozens of Chinese artists, spent a month prior to opening setting up the elaborate lanterns, including the amazing pagoda made of thousands of pieces of Chinese porcelain china set, stacked and strung together to create the massive structure which stands without any glue or fasteners except for thin white twine.

250ft Dragon

Amongst the Chinese cultural displays unique Christmas themed lantern; Santa, reindeer, snowmen, to bring a festive touch to the site.  Some of the colourful, Chinese cultural lanterns tell the story of Confucius, and Chinese Opera while others like the reflect symbols of fortune and good will; pandas, fish, flowers, and the centrepiece 250 foot long Dragon.

With nearly 50,000 people coming through the gates, the Chinese Lantern Festival has proved to be a popular winter event, and will surely grow in popularity when it returns for a second year, next winter.

The Chinese Lantern Festival at the PNE must close January 21, 2018. The site opens at 5pm each day, tickets can be purchased online at vancouverlanternfestival.ca or at the gates at Hastings & Refrew Streets at PNE Hastings Park.

Picks of the Week – January 3, 2018

2018 is here and we’re back in full swing looking for great entertainment picks of the week to get you through the first week of the new year.

East Van Panto
Photo: Emily Cooper

Snow: It’s your last chance to help Snow White and the Seven Dwarves evade her Evil Stepmother in East Van Panto at The Cultch York Theatre before is closes January 6th.

Festival: Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival  bringing dozens of Chinese lanterns, throughout the 14 acre PNE site until January 21st

Lights: Lights at Lafarge Coquitlam’s Winter Light Festival, the largest free light display in the Lower Mainland keeps the lights on until January 21st

Canyon: Take to the treetops of the tallest illuminated trees and much more at Canyon Lights Winter Festival at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park  until January 28th, 2018. 

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage welcomes Disney’s Beauty & The Beast until January 13th.

Train: This is the last week for Bright Nights, Stanley Park Christmas Train– two million lights twinkle throughout the plaza and Miniature Train until January 6th

Heritage: Celebrate the way the Holidays were a century ago at Heritage Christmas presented by Concord Pacific at Burnaby Village Museum  until January 5th

Garden: Wander through millions of lights and colours at Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden until January 7th

Improv: The Vancouver Theatresports Throwdown International Theatresports Festival is on now. First up, until Jan 13th, local teams of VTSL players improv their way to the best of Vancouver, before taking on International Improv teams the following week.

5 Winter Events to close the Festive Season

Happy New Year! While we are already into 2018, the lead up to the Holidays is sometime so busy we don’t have time to take in all the festive events. Here’s a few seasonal winter events that you can still catch for a few more weeks:

Beauty and the Beast at Stanley TheatreDisney’s Beauty and the Beast – The Arts Club Theatre Company presents a brilliant adaptation of Disney’s ‘tale as old as time’. Fun for the whole family as Belle and The Beast are supported by Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs Potts and others at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until January 13th – Tickets online at artsclub.com

Lights at Lafarge – Coquitlam’s Winter Light Festival is the largest free light display in the Lower Mainland, Town Centre Park is illuminated with hundreds of thousands of lights, with roving performers, hot chocolate & cookies all just steps from Lafarge Lake – Douglas Skytrain Station, making this one of the most easily accessible winter events. Continuing until January 21st, 2018 – Free Admission

Chinese Lantern FestivalVancouver Chinese Lantern Festival – the PNE features the largest festival of its kind in Canada. One of the most beautiful and culturally significant festivals lights up the night with dozens of spectacular gossamer lanterns, some reaching nearly 200 feet in length, transforming the 14 acres of Hastings Park, running until January 21, 2018. – Admission $19 online

Canyon Lights Winter Festival at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park continues until January 28th, 2018. Thousands of lights spread throughout the Park, the bridge, Treetops Adventures, with 8 of the tallest living Christmas Tree. – All-day Adult park admission is $42.95, includes the holiday activities, crafts and entertainment beginning at 4pm each day.

Robson Square Ice Rink – hit the ice for some old-fashioned outdoor winter fun, all-ages can lace up and enjoy the free skating experience at Robson Square. Until February 28, 2018, open from 9am to 9pm Sunday – Thursday and 9am to 11pm Friday – Saturday.  Skating is free, skate rentals are $4 (last rental, 30 minutes prior to closing)

Picks of the Week – December 13, 2017

It’s day two of Hanukkah for our Jewish friends. As well, just two more weeks until Santa takes off on his flight. What will we do while we wait? Let’s find out in the picks of the week…

Talk: find out What Happened when Hillary Clinton comes to Vancouver to discuss life, elections and more at the Vancouver Convention Centre today.

Pucks: The Vancouver Canucks are in for a multi-game homestand – Tonight vs Nashville, Friday vs San Jose, Sunday vs Calgary

East Van Panto
Photo: Emily Cooper

Snow: Until January 6th, help Snow White and the Seven Dwarves evade her Evil Stepmother in East Van Panto at The Cultch York Theatre

Twinkle: Light up your nights with the Festival light displays all around Metro Vancouver; Lights of Hope, Canyon Lights, Bright Nights, Heritage Christmas, Glow Christmas, Lights at Lafarge all bring a little Christmas Spirit.

Festival: Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival makes its debut on Friday, bringing dozens of Chinese lanterns, throughout the 14 acre PNE site.

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company’s dramedy  The Day Before Christmas is onstage at the Goldcorp Stage until the day before Christmas, while fan favourite Onegin remounts the Arts Club, Granville Island Stage, until December 31st and Disney’s Beauty & The Beast is in previews starting tomorrow.

Ghost of Christmas Past (Josh Chambers) & Scrooge (Russell Roberts)
Photo: David CooperDickens: From December 7 – 24th, the Holiday Classic, A Christmas Carol comes to life onstage at Gateway Theatre in Richmond.

Narnia: Carousel Theatre, invites families to step through the wardrobe as C.S Lewis’  The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe comes to the stage until December 31st.

Carols: The 25th Anniversary of the VSO’s Traditional Christmas at St Andrew’s Wesley this weekend and in various venues throughout the month

Drag: The Christmas Queen is back to ruin Christmas for Vancouver Theatresports League and on Saturday nights, anything can, and will happen,  when Vancouver drag diva the Unstoppable Connie Smudge joins the stage,  it’s two queens for the price of one at Christmas Queen Drag Race.

Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival illuminates PNE

This Friday, December 15, 2017, the PNE debuts the Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival, the largest of its kind in Canada. One of the most beautiful and culturally significant festivals will light up the skies of Vancouver with dozens of spectacular gossamer lanterns, some reaching nearly 200 feet in length.

Bin Zhu, Director of Sichuan Tianyu Culture Communication Co. Ltd says, “We believe our lantern festivals can improve cultural communication between China and the world.”

“It is a tremendous honour to have been selected by this leading cultural organization as the inaugural host in Canada for this important festival,” says Mike McDaniel, President and CEO of the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE). “We anticipate people from all ethnicities and cultures from across our region will be excited about the opportunity to see this important and impressive display.”

Lantern festivals started during the Han Dynasty, about 2,000 years ago. For centuries, lanterns festivals have been lit on the fifteenth day of the first month in the Chinese calendar to pray for a good harvest, and to gain favor of Taiyi, god of heaven. Today, the lantern festivals are still held each year around the country, with each major Chinese city having its own light festival.  In ancient times, the lanterns were fairly simple, and only the emperor and noblemen had large ornate ones. In modern times, lanterns have been embellished with many complex designs such as the ones that will be on display at the PNE.

The Festival will be featuring Dragon, White Pagoda, Kylin, and Huabiao Column lanterns, each lantern symbolizing a Chinese sage or legend. The columns are said to be protectors of the residents and a reminder for the emperor to pay attention to his duties.

In addition to the lantern displays, the festival will also include two nightly performances in the PNE Amphitheatre: Sunday to Thursday at 6:30pm and 8:30pm, and Friday and Saturdays at 7pm and 9pm. Featuring Face Changing, Acrobatics, Plate Spinners, Folk Dance, Jar Balancing and Erhu. These exciting performances are family friendly, and are sure to wow. The lantern festival will also feature a food and beverage program and additional children’s activities.

Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival opens December 15th, featuring 35 illuminated displays transforming over 14 acres of Hastings Park running daily from December 15th, 2017 (closed Christmas Day) until January 21, 2018.

For further information and tickets visit vancouverlanternfestival.ca 

Fright Nights at Playland Opens Tonight

Western Canada’s most anticipated Halloween event, Fright Nights returns to Playland starting today October 6th until October 31st.  This year’s Fright Nights features returning favorites as well as never-seen-before attractions including a new haunted house, scaring up even more spooktacular entertainment for visitors.

For those looking for a paranormal experience, Haunted Mansion is geared to terrify even the bravest souls, and guests can attempt to overcome their fear of clowns in Car-N-Evil haunted house, and face their deepest terrors in Darkness. Favourite haunted houses, The Asylum, Fear, Hollywood Horrors, and Keepers Doll Factory are also back.

Guinness World Record holders for driving over a man on a bed of nails,  Monsters of Schlock, is back to terrify guests with three nightly shows from October 13 to 31. Guests can expect to be horrified with shows that feature meat hooks, and other cringe worthy entertainment. Look out for Playland’s favourite freak, Singe the Clown, who is up to his creepy antics for another year.  With freaky surprises, rides and a park full of gory ghouls, Fright Nights 2017 is spookier than ever and is the perfect event for every Halloween lover.

To maximize your thrills at Fright Nights, guests have the option to purchase a Rapid Pass, which offers the same access as a regular gate pass PLUS access to an expedited line for each Haunted House and The Beast, Wooden Roller Coaster, Atmosfear, and Hellevator. Guests will also be able to save $3 by purchasing tickets at participating 7-Eleven locations or online.

Playland warns that this event is not recommended for ages 12 and under, seniors 65+, people with sensitivity to strobe lighting or fog machines, people with high blood pressure, heart conditions, pregnant women or scaredy-cats. Absolutely no guest costumes or guest costume face make up allowed. 

Picks of the Week : August 30, 2017

In this picks of the week we find another month comes to a close but brings with is a long weekend full of fun

Spectacle: The tall ship Amara Zee provides the backdrop & stage for a free, unique, acrobatic aerial musical Climatopian Spectacle – Nomadic Tempest along the shores of False Creek until Sept 3rd

World: The newly expanded to two-days, Richmond World Festival is a free family fun event at Minoru Park

PNE:  The Fair at the PNE continues to bring agriculture and entertainment including the line up of great Summer Nights Concerts this week including The B52s, Doobie Brothers, Rick Springfield & The Gypsy Kings

Film: There’s still time to catch a movie before the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival comes to a close on September 3rd

Rock: Hopefully all is calm outside as Guns N’ Roses take the stage and prepare to blow the roof off BC Place on September 1st

Bowl: rock under the stars as Spoon plays the beautiful Malkin Bowl in the heart of Stanley Park on Saturday night

Heart:  Closing out the long weekend and PNE concerts, the I Heart Radio Beach Ball is two full days, Sunday and Monday, full of fantastic pop at the PNE Amphitheatre featuring Alessia Cara, Shawn Hook, The Strumbellas, Lorde, Liam Payne, Train, Blondie, Serena Ryder and many more

Pop: A pair of hitmakers grace the stage at Rogers Arena, rescheduled from the spring, Lionel Richie with Mariah Carey visit on Sunday.

Photo credit: David and Emily Cooper

Shakespeare:  Bard on the Beach continues to bring Shakespeare to life at Vanier Park, with Much Ado About Nothing and The Winter’s Tale are on the BMO Mainstage with The Merchant of Venice and Two Gentlemen of Verona on the Howard Family Stage