PHOENIX, the United States, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- The largest Chinese lantern festival in U.S. history, Lights of the World, kicked off this weekend in the capital of Arizona to boost Sino-U.S. cultural ties.
The event lasting to Jan. 29 next year and running through four of the most important holidays -- Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, New Year and Spring Festival -- is expected to attract more than half a million local residents, Song Yang, vice chairman of the U.S.-China Cultural and Educational Foundation, told Xinhua Sunday night.
"It is also a good opportunity for Americans to get to know more about Chinese folk art," he said, adding that culture was a means for people to exchange different ideas and understand each other.
The festival in the Gila River Indian Community covers 22 acres, or about 90,000 square meters, and showcases more than 80 huge lantern units.
Among the units, Heaven Temple is about 18 meters high and China Dragon assembled by China Dinnerware is 70 meters long.
About 380 Chinese lantern craftsmen worked for three months to prepare the show and the units used over 160 tons of steel and over four million lights, Song, who co-invested more than six million U.S. dollars in the event with a private company from Sichuan Province, told Xinhua.
"It's a real good feeling to have this fantastic experience," Stephen Rowe Lewis, Governor of Gila River Indian Community, said in the inauguration Friday. "We regard these hand-made, special designed lights as a bless."
"It's a culture event and it's also a event beyond culture, the exciting thing will bring our two people together," he said.