The Nashville Zoo held a Chinese Festival of Lights event called Zoolumination. It was the largest attraction the Nashville Zoo has ever produced and is the largest lantern festival in the country. One highlight, among over 500 lanterns on display, was a 200-foot long dragon.
The handmade lighting displays were built by artists with the Zigong Lantern Group who traveled from China to help put the festival together.
Zigong Lantern Culture Industry Group publicizes Chinese culture and promotes integration of Chinese and Western culture. The business has covered all the present sectors in the lantern industry, including organization of lantern festivals at home and abroad, the design, fabrication and installation of traditional Chinese lanterns, animatronics dinosaurs and animals, artistic landscape construction, research and development of artistic lantern products.
The work of about 50 Zigong Chinese began three months before Zoolumination was installed across more than 60 acres of the Nashville Zoo. They started with a welding process that created the frame using different types of welding techniques. Once they had the frame in place, there were Chinese specialists who wrapped them in different colors of silk and then wrapped them with foil.
Visitors to the zoo made their way through lantern-lit pathways that connected them to intricate displays of wild animals and exotic plants located around zoo animals’ habitats. Lanterns the size of four-story buildings and the large dragon can be found in the zoo’s festival field.
Custom made silk lanterns featured zoo animals, holiday themed scenes, lit pathways, flowers, Chinese pottery, Chinese temples, two-story buildings made entirely of lanterns, a life-size train, and the 200-foot dragon.
Chinese acrobats and entertainers traveled from Zigong, China to perform at Zoolumination.