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The Gold Coast Festival of Lights for Families

It’s not just your kids who’ll get a kick out of the dazzling large-scale light displays and children-friendly activities at the Gold Coast Festival of Lights. You can feast on Chinese cuisine while you watch artisans craft live traditional Chinese drawings or be enthralled by live performances from contortionists and balancing acrobats.

What can we expect at Gold Coast Festival of Lights 2016?

The festival kicks off on August 26 and celebrates Chinese culture through a display of hundreds of beautiful light installations. It’s being held on the Southern Lawn at Broadwater Parklands in Southport every night from 6pm until October 3.

To give you a little perspective about the massive scale of this festival, more than 20,000 light globes and 40 tonnes of steel have been used and some of the installations are 60-metres wide and 15-metres high. A staggering 30,000 metres of silk and 300 unique silk lanterns have been used to create the visual masterpieces that adorn the waterfront location.

The Gold Coast Festival of Lights.- dragon

Fact: It took 21 Chinese artisans 6552 hours (273 days) to create 532 lanterns for this spectacular display.

The perfect night out for families

Why not pop down after dinner and explore the incredible sights, it’s getting warmer out and children young and old will be amazed at the displays. It might be a good idea to take a stroller for little ones.

The all-access displays are accompanied by an ambient music backdrop, promising to provide a true sensory experience for young and old.

The vibrant light displays come in all shapes and forms including Chinese zodiacs, Chinese dragons, dinosaurs, flowers, insects, and a wide range of animals. These include a grove of pandas, Chinese opera figures, as well as beautiful sculptures and arches.

Kids and adults alike will get a kick out of the live performances on the main stage that will include acrobatic, balancing, contortion and dance performances. Each night there’ll also be four special traditional Chinese face changing performances known as Bian Lian. This is an ancient Chinese dramatic art that is part of the Sichuan opera, one of China’s oldest local operas in the Sichuan province.

The Gold Coast Festival of Lights - sugar painting

Fact: The dragon culture in China has lasted for more than 8000 years and the image of the dragon has been embedded in every corner of China. From celebrations to the Zodiac, to historical rulers, the dragon has played a large part in China’s rich history, symbolising strength and power.

Festival hours and times:

  • Open every night from August 26 to October 3
  • Monday to Thursday 6-10pm
  • Friday to Sunday 6-10.30pm
  • Open public holidays 6-10.30pm
  • Cultural performances on the main stage at 7pm, 7.45pm, 8pm and 8.45pm

Regular performances on main stage throughout the night include:

  • Chinese contortionist performance
  • Acrobat balancing performance
  • Acrobat heading bowls while balancing on rola bola performance
  • High energy acrobatic performance on bamboo sticks
  • Balancing feats by acrobat
  • Chinese folk dancing

The best place to park is at Australia Fair Shopping Centre just across the road or you can catch a bus or ride the G light rail system – it’s just a short walk from the Scarborough Street station to the event.

What will it cost you?

Well kids aged four and under are free, children 4 to 15 are $15 and adults and those aged 16 and over are $22.

Hint: The cheapest option is a family pass for two adults and two kids at just $62. 

Find out more about The Gold Coast Festival of Lights.

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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