For bright nights, Daejeon is a big turn-onSummer is here already, with daytime temperatures climbing will into the 20s centigrade (around 80 Fahrenheit), the smell of acacias filling the air. The evenings are warm, a great time to go outside and chill.
One suggestion for enjoying the outdoors is the Chinese Lantern Festival, being held at Daejeon Expo Science park. Every evening, from 6:30 to midnight, more than 2,000 bright lights are switched on, illuminating the early summer’s sky.
The walk from Expo Science park’s main gate to Hanbit Plaza takes just a few minutes; the walkway is lined with red lanterns that make visitors exclaim with delight.
This year’s event ― with its brilliant array of light and color ― is almost like an art exhibition. There are more than 30 lanterns that are over 10 meters long and 24 meters high (33 by 78 feet).
Extra-large lanterns in the shape of Tiannamen Square, the Great Wall of China and Asian dragons also decorate the grounds. Some lanterns recreate images from classical Chinese novels.
The size and the exquisiteness is bound to impress the audience. A piece made of three peacocks consists of nearly 100,000 pieces of glass. A dragon and phoenix that drape the pillars of a palace are made by connecting 10,000 spoons, teapots, alcohol cups and rice bowls. To create an image of two phoenixes standing in front of each other, 60,000 silkworm cocoons were attached as feathers.
All of these decorative items were made by an 80-person installation team from the Zigong Municipal Committee Management of Lantern Festival and Trade Fair in Szechuan, China.
Last summer, more than 700,000 visitors came to see the lantern festival. Besides reveling in the fabulous lanterns, visitors can enjoy performances by a Szechuan circus troupe at 8 and 10 p.m. Circus members aged 7 to 17 perform daredevil stunts for all to see.
The lantern festival continues to June 15. Entrance costs 8,000 won ($6.50), 6,000 won for children ages 4 to 15. Parking costs 1,500 won. Because turnout tends to be much higher on weekends, organizers recommend coming before 9 p.m. or on weekdays if possible.
Food is available in the grounds, including specials from Szechuan and Shaanxi provinces, made by chefs from those regions. Simple dishes sell for 5,000 won, and fancier meals go for 12,000 to 15,000 won.
If you go by public transportation, bus No. 180, 181 and 513 will take you to the lantern grounds from Daejeon Station, bus No. 103 from Daejeon Bus Terminal and bus No. 180 from Yuseong Express Bus Terminal. Note that all city buses cease operating around 11 p.m. Taxis are also plentiful. If going by car, take Honam Expressway and get off at Daedeok Valley Nadeulmok, then turn left and follow the signs to Science Expo Park.
by Sung Si-yoon
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