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STARTING Friday, October 26, 2018 to January 6, 2019, the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden will be home to “Moonlight Forest,” a dazzling evening experience of lights, art, and culture.

Featuring over 60 displays of larger-than-life lantern art, Moonlight Forest is surely a destination for the entire family. The illuminating lanterns reflect three themes: nature, children’s garden and Chinese culture. Some of the displays include peacocks, dragons, pandas, flowers, moons, and Chinese figures. One attraction is a rendition of the Terracotta Army, for example.

The LA Arboretum partnered with Tianyu Arts & Culture — a China-based design company that organizes international cultural events —  to bring these lanterns to Southern California.

To date, Moonlight Forest is Tianyu’s largest festival in the United States.

During the media preview of Moonlight Forest on Thursday, October 25, LA Arboretum CEO Richard Schulhof told reporters that he attended a lantern festival last fall and realized that the arboretum had not featured lanterns of this scale before, given the cultural diversity and greater Asian American community in Southern California.

Schulhof told the Asian Journal that he was struck by Tianyu’s “artistry and creativity” and invited the design company to produce the lantern show at the arboretum.

“Our team has worked meticulously on the production of over 60 lanterns since early summer, and we can’t wait for the public to enjoy our handcrafted creations,” said Grace Zhou, a representative of Tianyu, in a statement. “Seeing our artwork come to life is one of the most rewarding moments of the entire process. We hope everyone who comes to Moonlight Forest is entertained by our lanterns, performances, and crafts!”

This is the first year the arboretum will be hosting this festival, but is already seeking to make it an annual tradition to explore other cultures around the world. The property previously hosted three Harvest Moon Festivals.

“These sorts of art forms [arrange] so beautifully within a natural landscape that we wanted to bring additional arts traditions to the arboretum that fit well in our natural environment, our landscape…and make this a regular happening,” Schulhof said.

In addition to lantern attractions, the festival features music, food trucks, drink bars, and nightly performances from Tianyu’s Chinese acrobats, dance groups and “bian lian” face changers.

“Any time you can experience the traditions of another culture, that’s a growth experience. You’re learning how other people experience the world and live their lives. This cultural exchange enriches our quality of life here in Southern California and lets us experience the cultural diversity around us,” Schulhof said.

Presented by the Arboretum Foundation with Tianyu Arts & Culture, Moonlight Forest is open to the public at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden on Wednesday-Sunday from 5:30 to 10 p.m. starting October 26, 2018 to January 6, 2019.  Prices for timed tickets range from $20-28. The Arboretum is located at 301 North Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia, CA 91007. For more information and tickets, please visit

Christina M. Oriel
Christina M. Oriel

Christina M. Oriel is the Managing Editor of the Asian Journal Weekly Newspapers.

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