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Knoxville’s first-ever Dragon Lights Festival begins March 16

Knoxville’s first-ever Dragon Lights Festival starts Friday, March 16. Tickets are available now for the spectacular display of larger-than-life lanterns at Chilhowee Park & Exposition Center.

dragon lights festival
A feature of the Dragon Lights Festival. Image courtesy of Chilhowee Park & Expo Center

The festival, which will be held March 16 through April 22, will run from 5:30-10 p.m. each evening. Ticket prices range from $10.50 to $16.50. Event parking will be free. A box office at the event entrance will open at 4 p.m. each day.

“We highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance,” said Mary Bogert, general manager of Chilhowee Park & Exposition Center. “On-site tickets will be available, but you can avoid potential long lines at the ticket booth by getting your tickets now.”

Tickets can be purchased in person at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum Box Office from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., by phone at 800-745-3000 or online at Discounted tickets are available for military, seniors, students and groups.

The largest festival of its kind in the Eastern United States, the five-week extravaganza of light displays and nightly performances includes 42 oversized lanterns that depict traditional themes of mythical creatures and animals and incorporate designs inspired by Knoxville landmarks. The lanterns, which are made with thousands of light components, are being assembled on-site by dozens of Chinese artisans from the world-renowned Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc.

Visitors also can enjoy nightly stage performances of acrobatics and demonstrations of traditional Chinese folk art. Family-friendly food and drinks, alcoholic beverages and hands-on activities will be available for purchase, as well as souvenirs.

Answers to frequently asked questions, as well as a festival map, are available at

Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc. is the American subsidiary of the international design and manufacturing company Sichuan Tianyu, whose headquarters are in Zigong, China. Sichuan Tianyu organizes word-class Chinese cultural events, and tailors experiential marketing solutions on an international scale. Renowned for its ability to combine Chinese-folk culture and entertainment into popular China Light Festivals and carnival experiences, Sichuan Tianyu has successfully hosted Chinese light festivals and other celebrations of Chinese culture around the world. Their successful global events have allowed them to maintain offices in the United States, Australia and Europe. By sharing lantern shows and other entertainment traditions, they hope to continue to improve intercultural communication between China and the World.

With more than 80 acres of beautiful outdoor sites, multipurpose indoor venue spaces and ample parking, Chilhowee Park & Exposition Center is a multiuse venue for fairs, festivals, concerts, charity runs, trade shows and agriculture competitions. Conveniently located off Interstate 40 and minutes away from Knoxville’s revitalized downtown, Chilhowee Park & Expo Center includes a newly renovated 57,100-square-foot exhibit hall, a 4,500-seat amphitheater, a 3-acre lake, and ample parking. Chilhowee Park & Expo Center is an SMG managed facility. For more information, visit

Celebrating its 40th anniversary and founded in 1977, SMG provides management services to more than 230 public assembly facilities including convention and exhibition centers, arenas, stadiums, theaters, performing arts centers, amphitheaters, equestrian facilities, science centers and a variety of other venues. With facilities across the globe, SMG manages more than 15 million square feet of exhibition space, and more than 1.5 million sports and entertainment seats. As the recognized global industry leader, SMG provides venue management, sales, marketing, event booking and programming; construction and design consulting; and pre-opening services for such landmark facilities as McCormick Place & Soldier Field in Chicago, Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Houston’s NRG Park and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. SMG also offers food and beverage operations through its concessions and catering companies, currently serving more than 140 accounts worldwide. For more information, visit

Published March 13, 2018

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