Cleveland Metroparks officials hope to light up zoo with a second Asian Lantern Festival

February 14, 2019

Cleveland Metroparks officials hope to light up zoo with a second Asian Lantern Festival

CLEVELAND, Ohio—The Cleveland Metroparks hope to light up the zoo for the second straight summer by bringing back the popular Asian Lantern Festival.

Parks trustees voted unanimously today to authorize Chief Executive Officer Brian Zimmerman to seek a contract effective with Tianyu Arts and Culture to prepare another edition of the festival at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The parks would seek to stage the festival at least from June 20 through Aug 11, Thursdays through Sundays, according to notes from the staff to the board.

This edition would feature new cultural attractions and animal exhibits by daylight and 42 new scenes with big illuminated lanterns resembling animals and more.

“It’s a whole new show,” Kelly Manderfield, the parks’ chief marketing officer, told the board at its monthly meeting.

After the meeting, officials said the deal was still unsure. They declined to discuss possible hours, ticket prices and other details.

Last year’s festival highlighted the zoo’s new Asian Highlands exhibit. It was originally booked for a month, then extended two more weeks. It drew about 150,000 visitors.

Last year’s hours were 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets were separate from normal zoo admission. Last year’s tickets cost $14.50 online for zoo members, $17.50 online for non-members and $20.50 at the box office.

The board resolution lets staff negotiate a deal for the parks to get 40 percent of gross revenue and Tianyu 60 percent from up to 120,000 guests. The parties would split gross revenue 50-50 from guest beyond the 120,000.

Tianyu’s costs would include making, shipping, installing and fixing the lanterns and hiring artists, performers and retail craft vendors, and repair crews. The parks’ expenses would include preparing the site and marketing the festival.