Milwaukee County Parks
Press Release

Chinese Lantern Festival’s Asian Cuisine Weekend at Boerner Botanical Gardens, Oct. 7-9

China Lights: Boerner Brighter Than Ever is a celebration of Asian culture featuring 40 larger-than-life sculptural lantern displays.

By - Oct 6th, 2016 03:36 pm
China Lights: Boerner Brighter Than Ever. Photo courtesy of Milwaukee County Parks.

China Lights: Boerner Brighter Than Ever. Photo courtesy of Milwaukee County Parks.

Milwaukee, WI (Oct. 6, 2016) — This weekend, Boerner Botanical Gardens will be filled not only with dramatic displays of color, light, and sound, but also with Asian-inspired cuisine to tempt visitors’ tastebuds.

China Lights: Boerner Brighter Than Ever is a celebration of Asian culture featuring 40 larger-than-life sculptural lantern displays, stage performances highlighting folk-culture entertainment and activities, and a bustling marketplace. The festival is open from 5:30-10 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, through Oct. 30. Boerner Botanical Gardens is located in Whitnall Park at 9400 Boerner Drive, Hales Corners, WI.

For Asian Cuisine Weekend, Oct. 7-9, an expanded menu will be offered. Lighter fare includes Asian Cucumber Salad, Vegetable Egg Roll with Sweet and Sour Sauce, Peking Duck Spring Roll with Plum Dipping Sauce, and Chicken Wings with Honey Sesame Glaze. The sampler brings together an egg roll, spring roll, and chicken wings.

Entree options, which include an egg roll and rice, are Mongolian Beef, Sweet and Sour Chicken, and Sichuan Shrimp. The entrée sampler allows guests to try two of these entrees.

For dessert, the menu offers traditional almond cookies as well as a new twist on the egg roll—Homemade Apple Pie Egg Roll, dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with homemade caramel sauce.

Some grill items will be available.

Variety is also key in the beverage selection. Ten adult beverages are being served. Highlighting the selection of five draft beers is China Lights Red, a red lager from MillerCoors brewed especially for this event. For a beer from China, visitors can enjoy a bottle of Tsingtao, a lager from the nation’s largest brewery. Wine is also available, including Ozeki Sake, a fresh Japanese sake made from rice.

Non-alcoholic beverages include bottled citrus green tea, sodas, and bottled water.

Lantern Displays

Beyond the Welcome Gate, visitors may find that each display is more magical than the last.

Over the past month, 28 artisans from China have been on-site creating welded metal frames, lighting the frames from within using various types and colors of LED lights, covering the framework in brilliantly colored fabric, and hand-painting finishing touches. Among the components emerging from the process are glowing flowers, peacocks, cranes, and pandas. Display sizes are as large as the impressive 200-foot-long dragon.

Illumination Parade

Each night at about 6:15 p.m. members of the entertainment staff will lead a procession to light the zodiac display in the Shrub Mall of the Botanical Gardens. The Illumination Parade will conclude at the main stage in time for the first performance of the night.

Stage Performances, Oct. 7-9

Stage performances at 6:30, 8, and 9 p.m. will highlight folk-culture. In addition to the well-known Dragon Dance and Umbrella Dance, Asian performers will present Wei Minority Dance, Tibetan Dance, Yangko Dance, and the graceful twirling of the Flute and Dance. In addition, Bian Lian, or face changing, will amaze the audience. Face changing, or mask changing, is the ancient Chinese art form from the Sichuan opera. Performers wear thin masks that change with the passing of a fan.

Also in the entertainment lineup will be a Chinese fashion show featuring the Qipao, the classic, form-fitting silk dress, as well as an interactive quiz show. with the emcee testing the audience’s knowledge of the Botanical Gardens and the lanterns. Small gifts will be handed out for the first correct answer.

Entertainment will be varied throughout the run of the show. Tuesday through Thursday, performances will be at 6:30 and 8 p.m. A third performance will be added every Friday through Sunday at 9 p.m.

Cultural Displays

For China Lights, the Garden House will be the center for cultural displays. Three lantern replicas of the terra cotta warriors will be on view along with poster displays about the making of China Lights, and continuous streaming video on China’s history, culture, and tourism.

China Lights admission tickets will be valid any night of the regular 2016 schedule. Admission is $15 for adults (age 18–59) and $10 for seniors (age 60 and up) and children (age 5-17). Children under age 5 will be admitted free. For $30, a patron may purchase a one-visit VIP ticket, which includes a behind-the-scenes tour, optional participation in the Illumination Parade, fabric lantern, and mobile guide. Grass-lot parking is included with all admission tickets.

Preferred, close-up paved parking will be limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis for $5 cash per night. Some spaces in this area will be designated for and are free to people with disabilities who have state-issued disabled parking or disabled Veteran parking license plates, or the state-issued disabled parking identification card.

Due to expected wet conditions in the grass parking areas, a free shuttle bus will run from the nearby Whitnall Park Golf Clubhouse parking lot to the China Lights entrance on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 7–8. The shuttle will run every 30 minutes, from 5:15–10:15 p.m. The lot is located at 6751 S. 92nd St., Franklin, WI 53132.

Offered exclusively at the Botanical Gardens, at the information desk or the box office, are the season pass with unlimited visits for $45, and the mobile guide, which requires a cell phone for use, for $5.

Tickets may be purchased in advance on-line at, Boerner Botanical Gardens, and Milwaukee County Parks point-of-sale locations, including Parks Public Services (9480 Watertown Plank Road), regulation golf courses, The Domes, and the Milwaukee County Sports Complex.

While the displays are magical at night, they are beautiful during the day. Displays may be viewed unlit during the day for the cost of regular Botanical Gardens admission. Patrons may purchase an evening ticket for that same day by presenting the daily admission wristband and paying an additional $10.

Co-presenters of the event are the Park People of Milwaukee County and Travel Wisconsin. Event sponsors are the We Energies Foundation, Miller Lite, and Tri City National Bank.

For more information, visit


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One thought on “Chinese Lantern Festival’s Asian Cuisine Weekend at Boerner Botanical Gardens, Oct. 7-9”

  1. Christina Zawadiwsky says:

    I’ve heard so many rave reviews about this exhibition from those who’ve already seen it! Not only is it a family event, but it’s for anyone who loves beauty and mystery! I certainly plan to see it before the end of the month!

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