The Art of Lights was a new Chinese-style lantern festival at the Cloverdale fairgrounds in Surrey from mid-December until February 10th 2019.
Surrey Lantern Festival
The Art of Lights was an outdoor lantern festival featuring a large selection of Chinese lantern displays.
At the event there was a scaled replica of Beijing’s famous “Temple of Heaven.” There was also an “Under Sea World” and a “‘Living Dinosaur Kingdom.” Some of the displays were truly impressive.
When and Where
The Art of Lights lantern festival took place between 5:00 and 10:00 pm between December 14th 2018 and February 10th 2019. It was held at the Cloverdale Millennium Amphitheatre Park in Surrey at 17726 62th Avenue.
For the first part of the season the event was open daily. As of early January, 2019, however, it was only open on weekends.
What to Expect
At the Art of Lights you could expect to see a selection of bright and beautiful Chinese lantern displays. There were a couple of Christmas-y exhibits, but the majority were clearly of a Chinese theme.
At the event there were also one or two food trucks and vendors. Live entertainment was usually music with a local band from around 6:00 until 8:00 pm or so.
As many as a thousand or more people attended on some of the event’s first few days and weekends around Christmas and New Year’s Day. Average attendance though was typically only between around 100 and 200 visitors per night, so it was rarely crowded (which was nice for attendees).
Some of the most impressive displays included the Temple of Heaven, the dinosaur-themed displays, a giant Christmas tree and a tunnel of lights. These and dozens of other exhibits were spread out all over the park. Some displays were small and simple. Others were massive.
Below are the prices for the Art of Lights event for the 2018/2019 season.
- Adults (ages 13 to 64) – $22.95 in advance or $25 at the gate
- Seniors – $14.95 in advance or $16 at the gate
- Children (ages 3-12) – $14.95 in advance or $16 at the gate
Season passes were also available for $39.95 online in advance or $42 at the gate. Groups of 5 people got a special discount and could pay just $79.95 online or $83 at the gate.
(Note: For tickets purchased online there were additional service fees.)
NOTE: As of mid-January 2019 admission prices were discounted. For online purchases adults were $17.99, seniors and kids were $7.99, and groups of four were $47.99. Prices at the gate were a couple of dollars more when we checked.
Reviews and Visitor Comments
We at Vancouver’s Best Places didn’t get to the Art of Lights event until fairly late in the 2018/2019 season. Prior to going we checked out the online reviews for the event and saw that they had gotten 2.3 out of 5 stars from Groupon customers (as of the second week of January 2019).
Art of Lights apparently had lots of challenges with their initial launch. It was supposed to open in the early fall last year but that got delayed and they didn’t finally open until the middle of December. We’re guessing problems related to that likely impacted their online ratings.
Comments from reviewers on Groupon included the following:
- “The light displays were neat to see up close and the kids really enjoyed the glow swings. I am glad that I was able to get a discounted ticket through Groupon” (4 stars – by Jeneen R.)
- “Amazing light displays” (5 stars by Carole B.)
- “Good family activity. They fixed the path issue with some path boards. Nice light displays and not super busy making it more enjoyable to see. I would recommend!” (4 stars by Cassie A. on December 31)
- “Display is bit sparse and the lack of other vendors really took me back… I guess they did go through a lot!! When you visit you should expect more of art display than a festival! Really ideal for families with small children but equip yourselves with rain boots” (3 stars by Yuna C. on December 25)
- “The lanterns were nice but wish there was a bit more to look at and do” (2 stars by Laura F. on December 22)
- You’re done walking around in less than an hour” (3 stars by Ranjit O.)
When we went to the Art of Lights Lantern Festival (in mid-January) we really liked it. Yes, they could use more food trucks and vendors, but with only one or two hundred attendees per night, that’s hard to do. And yes, the displays were quite spread out, and it would have been nice if there was more to do, but it was still impressive. It was a lantern festival, and the lanterns themselves were stunning.
Tips and Advice
Below are some tips and suggestions to help you make the most out of your Art of Lights experience.
TIP #1: The event offered discounted $15 admission tickets online for a while last year. Hopefully they were by the time you went. (Apparently there were only 200 offered per day.)
TIP #2: Dress warmly and wear boots or other good footwear.
TIP #3: Parking at the venue was free (or at least it was last year).
TIP #4: Watch your step on the plastic walkways. They were a bit uneven in some places last year (but still nicer than walking through puddles).
For more information about the event click Art of Lights.
Other articles you might be interested in include the following:
- Vancouver’s December, January and February Calendars
- Chinese New Year in the Lower Mainland
- Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival
- Vancouver Festivals and Events
- Vancouver Christmas Events & Attractions
- Vancouver for Children