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Chinese Lantern Festival at the Fairplex in Pomona

Brought to you by the Chinese Lantern Festival

When I think holidays I think of family, food, and lights. Living in Southern California, we have so many options to experience beautiful holiday lights. Still, one that is new to our region is the magical Chinese Lantern Festival in Pomona at the Fairplex.

Naz and family at the Chinese Lantern Festival

My family and I were invited to experience this fantastic journey through this year’s theme Blooming Seasons. The Fairplex is located only 25 miles outside of Orange County, and you can get there pretty fast. When we arrived at the Fairplex, it was utterly dark, and my husband questioned if we were in the right place? We kept on driving and driving and seriously I had no idea the Fairplex was so big, it felt as if it were double the size of the Orange County Fairgrounds. So my husband totally didn’t believe that we were in the right place and then suddenly we saw lights. The lights were amazing.

The magic of the Chinese Lantern Festival

There truly is no way that I could describe how amazing they are, but I’m going to try. Imagine being surrounded by darkness and then suddenly bright, colorful, beautiful lights twinkling from a distance.

Lights at the Chinese Lantern Festival

The closer you get to the lights, you see them form into various shapes. As you park your car and walk towards the floral arc, you realize that they tower 30 feet. You feel like you are walking in a dream a dream that is bright and beautiful, something that you would see if you were in Wonderland.

Light sculptures at the Chinese Lantern Festival

The festival of vibrant lanterns depicts the four seasons of nature & animals in their native environments. Think of it like an adventure through the Amazon Jungle or journey deep into a vast wonderland with animals, insects & reptiles, plus exotic trees and illuminated plants.

Family fun at the Chinese Lantern Festival

As you venture from one season to the next, you cannot believe that you’re experiencing something so beautiful when suddenly you find yourself in a dreamlike place where mythical creatures roam with children riding them.

Photo opportunities at the Chinese Lantern Festival

It took me a minute to realize what was going on because I really felt like I was in a dream place. Where else could you ride a unicorn or a dragon that is moving. It really was surreal.

Entrance to the Chinese Lantern Festival

The art of handcrafted Chinese lantern making dates back to 2,000 years and is popularly linked to the reign of Emperor Ming of Han. Emperor Ming was an advocate of Buddhism and noticed Buddhist monks would light lanterns in temples on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month.

Chinese Lantern Festival Pomona

As a result, Emperor Ming ordered all households, temples, and the imperial palace to light lanterns on that evening. From there, it developed into a folk custom. Another likely origin is the celebration of the declining darkness of winter and the community’s ability to move about at night with human-made light.

Pomona Light Festival

The Festival of Chinese Lanterns is keeping with tradition but adding a modern twist. Each lantern is hand-crafted of modern materials, and eco-friendly colored LED light bulbs, as well as visual moving parts to create larger-than-life imaginative displays.

Entrance to the Chinese Lantern Festival

At the festival, you can also enjoy authentic live Chinese folk musical concerts, traditional dance shows, shop folk art souvenir booths, as well as grab a bite.

Photo backdrop at the Chinese Lantern Festival

Dates and Times

Every Thursday-Sunday from 5:30 – 10 pm plus holidays from Nov.21 – Jan.5.


Fairplex at Pomona
1101 W McKinley Ave
Pomona, CA 91768


Currently available online.

Naz Nodjoumi has lived in Orange County for over 35 years. She married the guy she sat next to in French class at WHS (go warriors), graduated UCI (zot zot zot) and has two kids. She’s grown up along side this once sleepy County and loves learning more and more about the ins and out of its great cities. When she’s not chauffeuring her kids around town, she’s either cooking, volunteering, or snapping away on one of her cameras. She loves museums, theater, art, discovering fun facts as well as traveling.
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