BY JENNA BAGCAL | Head to Citi Field this winter, where bright lanterns, international cuisine and cultural arts will collide.
From Dec. 6 to Jan. 26, the Flushing stadium plays host to the first-ever Hello Panda Festival, produced by CPAA North America. Spanning 750,000 square feet, the landmark event will feature more than 120 handcrafted lanterns, global food vendors curated by The World’s Fare and arts experiences, including live performances, modern art exhibits, a holiday market and traditional crafts.
“Hello Panda’s mission is not only to give New Yorkers and visitors something they’ve never seen before but also deliver an experience they can’t find anywhere else,” said Winston Wang, general manager of CPAA North America. “Our festival will offer a variety of immersive and social-media moments that introduce guests to the artistry of lantern-making while bringing different communities together through food and culture.”
The festival’s lantern display is sure to delight with more than 300,000 LED lights and several interactive elements. Some of the world’s leading lantern artisans will handcraft and paint in excess of 120 displays to reflect the tradition, innovation and creativity of the Chinese art.
Attendees can explore six different lantern theme parks that will deliver distinct, immersive experiences. The never-before-seen exhibits will be spread throughout the parks: Dream World, Holiday Wonderland, Discovery Zone, Interactive Music Zone, Sports World and Community Interactive Zone. Display highlights include the world’s tallest Christmas tree lantern, life-sized dinosaurs and safari animals, a huge fairytale castle and a 98-foot-long light tunnel.
Food will also be one of the main attractions at this year’s Hello Panda Festival through a partnership with The World’s Fare. Organizers of the largest and most diverse food and drink event in New York City will lend their tastemakers to curate vendors in the tented and heated food pavilion. Foodies can choose dishes from 60 diverse vendors offering a wide selection of global cuisines.
“The World’s Fare is honored to partner with Hello Panda to celebrate culture in the most diverse city in the world,” said Joshua Schneps, C.E.O. of World’s Fare. “There was a natural synergy between the mission of the festival and our organization and we couldn’t be more excited to take this journey together.”
Hello Panda will feature both traditional and modern cultural arts through live performances, galleries and a holiday market across six giant heated tent areas. The festival will showcase nightly music from local and international acts from different genres, including dance, Latin, pop and hip-hop.
Visitors can also view a collection of galleries featuring works of emerging global artists and even get in on the fun with DIY experiences, like papercutting, sugar painting, embroidery and cotton candy art, led by artist instructors.
“Citi Field is a place where people from all walks of life come together and share an amazing experience,” said Heather Collamore, vice president of Metropolitan Hospitality at Citi Field. “The Hello Panda Festival is a unique event that promotes cultural exchange while delighting the child in all of us.”
Hello Panda will be open seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Dec. 6 to Jan. 26, 2020. CPAA also plans to produce the even in Vernon, N.J., from Oct. 18 to Feb. 2, 2020, and at the World Vacation Hotel, in Catskill, N.Y., from Oct. 25 to March 22, 2020.
Tickets will go on sale beginning Thurs., Sept. 12. Ticket prices range from $22 to $28 minus tax and service fees. For more information, visit www.hellopandafest.com or follow @hellopandafest on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook.