Hello Panda Festival is an ode to all-things-good. Bright lights, towering ornaments, twisting mazes, illuminated swings and seesaws, a giant ball pit, innumerable vendors, and delicious food are among the offerings at Hello Panda Festival, an event taking place at New York’s Citi Field throughout January 26, 2018. This last week of the festival, there will be many special activities to celebrate Lunar New Year including musical and artistic performances.
The festival features more than 120 lantern exhibits, live entertainment, many adorable Panda figurines, and interactive experiences which are designed to stir the senses and inspire the imaginations of attendees. The event, which was developed in China, celebrates the traditional Chinese art of lantern-making and the displays are handcrafted by world-class artisans who are light and color experts. A holiday market and international food vendors curated by The World’s Fare are key features of the festival which runs from 5pm to 10pm from December 6, 2019, to January 26, 2020.
I recently had the opportunity to attend the event via a press pass and was astounded by the courtesy of the staff who accommodated my guests and secured a parking spot for me—all without being prompted. The professionalism and friendliness at the box office, and on the part of the excellent marketing team, reflected the joyous atmosphere of the festival. What was once a dreary stadium parking lot was transformed into a family-friendly winter wonderland featuring outdoor exhibits and warm indoor activities. From disco dancing to ornament shopping to back massages, the Hello Panda Festival has something for everyone. Two tents are dedicated to art—both visual and performing—serving as a sort of impromptu museum showcasing some of the most innovative and popular modern art from China.
Undoubtedly, one of the best parts of the evening was watching dozens of delighted children—and a few warier and far less sure-footed adults—frolic in the million-ball-pit that essentially functions as an indoor playground equipped with not just colorful balls, but candy-colored jungle-gyms that sit like heavily occupied islands amid a sea of rounded plastic. The squeals of happiness, giggles, and laughter made up the soundtrack of the evening: impossible to ignore and infectiously cheerful.
The offerings at the food court were so vast that it was difficult to decide what to order. From appetizers to full dinners to dessert, the eateries hailed from all corners of the world. From Bolivia, to China, the West Indies, Italy, and beyond, if you had a craving for something in particular then it could probably be found in the food tent for an extremely reasonable price.
The night was a whirlwind of whimsical fun and two hours slipped by effortlessly. It is quite exciting to realize that this is the debut year of the Hello Panda Festival yet the organizer company (CPAA North America) has a contract with Citi Field that extends through 2024. Hence, it is natural to wonder how the event will evolve and expand over the years…although it is hard to imagine how it could be improved.
Hello Panda Festival tickets are $28, parking is $25, but this last week of the festival a group promotion is available – use code PANGROUP to get from 30% to 50% discount for groups with 4 to 8 or more people. To learn more, visit their official website.