Wednesday December 7, 2016
Tonight I suggested to Andrew that we attend the Chinese Lantern Festival being held at the state fairgrounds. I first read about it in one of the local papers and had just seen an article about it in Ohio magazine, so it reminded me that we still hadn’t gone yet. It opened just after Thanksgiving and is around until just after the new year. After checking the weather forecast and stepping outside, I determined that now was as good a time as any since temperatures are supposed to plummet over the next few days and we may even get some snow.
So, after dinner we donned our warmest clothing, grabbed our cameras, and drove out to the fairgrounds. Being the middle of the week we didn’t expect crowds, and we got that right as there were just a few dozen cars in what is almost always an overflowing car park when we attend events there (like the Home & Garden Show in 2015).
We entered the fairgrounds via a large Chinese arch that was also a lantern of sorts. None of the lanterns were what one might think of as traditional shapes, so it definitely wasn’t what I expected, but was still impressive. Some even moved like the rocking pandas and the windmills, so those were kind of neat. Since it wasn’t crowded I was grateful to not have to wait too long for people to move so I could snap my pictures. Since I wasn’t wearing gloves most of the time, I was certainly trying to be as quick as possible.
I only paused briefly to look over the merchandise for sale. I couldn’t resist buying a panda necklace (which I’m sure is aimed at the child market, but what can I say, I’m a big kid!). There was also lots of (Chinese) food and drink for sale on the midway (including spiked cider and hot chocolate).
At 8:00pm there was a brief show demonstrating the balancing, juggling and gymnastic talent of half a dozen young Chinese men who were probably freezing cold, but performed like troopers. Because most of the audience was wearing gloves, to make up for slightly muted clapping we vocalized our praise by whistling and shouting. Andrew and I also enjoyed splitting a nice toasty cup of hot chocolate and some chocolate dipped fortune cookies. I dipped mine into the hot chocolate forgetting about my fortune inside. It was a bit soggy, but I think it said, “You will eat many fortune cookies in the future.” As there were five in the box, I think that fortune will come true.
We walked around and saw the rest of the lanterns before heading home. I figure we got our money’s worth ($15@ + $5 parking) in the hour and a half we spent there and I can definitely recommend it. There are concessions for seniors and students, so it is possible to get a discounted rate.
圣诞节快乐 (that’s Chinese for Merry Christmas)