Dragon Lights Festival Knoxville


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Important Note to Remember: The Dragon Lights Festival Knoxville is currently on hiatus, but if you want to learn more about this captivating festival of lights, keep reading and stay tuned for the latest information.

Who says you need to go to China to experience its popular dragon lights festival? If you are in Knoxville, Tennessee, you can encounter the light exhibition first-hand without too many troubles! 

Dragon Lights Festival Knoxville
Festival highlights

But before you go there, it is imperative to know a little background about Knoxville’s dragon lights festival

Your long search and wait are finally over with this guide! Are you ready? Fasten your seatbelt as we are about to take off! Enjoy! 

About the Festival 

Started in 2018, Knoxville’s festival of lights has become a much-awaited tourist destination for people of all ages. 

Who says any light exhibition is only for kids? Teens, adults, and seniors have fallen in love with this breathtaking event. 

Organized by Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc., the light show is always a big success every year. Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc. is a subsidiary of Sichuan Tianyu, a global design, and manufacturing company. Located in Zigong, China, Sichuan Tianyu specializes in organizing any Chinese cultural events of all sizes. 

Reputed for its ability to combine entertainment and Chinese folk culture, Sichuan Tianyu has hosted countless Chinese light festivals in China and other parts of the world. 

Usually, a lights festival only takes a few days. But Knoxville’s dragon light is different. It lasts for more than a month, allowing Chinese and people of other origins to know other cultures and relax at the same time. 

For more than five weeks of light displays, expect approximately 42 oversized lanterns. Each depicts animals and mythical creatures with a touch of famous landmarks of the city. 

The lanterns are made with thousands of fairy lights components. Each is assembled by Chinese artisans from Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc. with precision and perfection to provide the best light display for millions of tourists in Tennessee and other places in the US. 

Festival Dates

At present, the Dragon Lights Festival is on hiatus in Knoxville, and information on future dates are yet to be announced. Previous dragon light lantern festivals in Knoxville were held from March to April. Sometimes, the festival dates change. But it is usually within the said months. You can visit the festival’s official Facebook page for more information. You can also contact the organizer so that you won’t miss the highlights of the light exhibition.

Where It Is Located and How to Get There

The dragon light lantern festival is located in Knoxville, particularly Chilhowee Park and Exhibition Center.

An 81-acre park, the facility includes picnic shelters, a 3-acre lake, arenas, bandstands, barns, 4500 seat amphitheater, and exhibition hall. It is vast and can accommodate millions of locals and other tourists every year.

But how to get there? Good question! If you are North of Knoxville, follow the direction below:

  • Merge to I-275 south twds Asheville
  • Go to Exit 3 twds Asheville 
  • Merge to I-640 East
  • Follow I-640 East
  • Merge onto I-40 West twds Nashville 
  • Go to Exit 3924A. 
  • Lastly, follow the signs to Chilhowee Park and Exhibition Center. That’s it! 

If you liked this festival, you might want to check out these other spectacles as well:

China Lights 2023 Nature’s Glow

Sydney Lights Festival

Festival Hours

In its past editions, the festival took place from 5:30 to 10 p.m, allowing visitors to ignite their senses with captivating lanterns and enchanting light displays.

Cost to Visit the Festival

Since the festival is currently on hiatus, information on ticket prices are yet to be announced as well. However, to give you some idea, here is the ticket price from the previous edition of Dragon Lights Festival Knoxville:
For adults, it cost around $16. For children, 3 to 13 years old, tickets cost $10. Kids under three could get in without entrance fees.

Seniors and college students could enjoy some discounts. The tickets were available at $12.

Previous edition of the festival also offered group discounts. For a group of 15 or more, visitors could get a discount rate of $12 for adults and $8 for children. Please feel free to contact Knoxville Civic Coliseum at 865-215-8999 for further details!
In the previous years, the light exhibition also provided a $45 season pass, which included unlimited adult admission.

To stay updated of the latest information on ticket prices, stay tuned or regularly visit the festival’s official website and social media channels.

Weather and What to Wear

Knoxville experiences four seasons. The spring and the fall are the best time to explore the city of Tennessee.
In March, Knoxville begins to warm up, which is still ideal and comfortable for travelers. Luckily, the dragon light lantern festival usually takes place from March to April.

But what should you wear when you go to Chilhowee Park and Exhibition Center? Since the weather starts to get warm, do not forget to wear any light-colored clothing, opt for loose sleeves, avoid something tight, consider breathable fabrics, wear leather sandals, and minimize accessories.

Also, you have the leeway to choose what you want to wear. There is no rule to follow, after all. Plus, your comfort is what matters the most.

Hotels Near the Dragon Lights Festival

If you are staying in Knoxville for another whole week, here are the best accommodations we recommend:

Days Inn 

Days Inn lands the first spot. Close to the Interstate 40 Exit 394, Days Inn provides high-end amenities, including an outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi, a cable TV, a small refrigerator, and more.

It offers a free continental breakfast that will surely satisfy your taste buds and cravings. It is 11.2 km away from the University of Tennessee. It is a 42-minute drive from the Dollywood theme park. It is also open 24/7. Plus, free parking space is offered.

Crowne Plaza Knoxville Downtown University 

Located in Knoxville’s city center, Crowne Plaza is close to the University of Tennessee, World’s Fair Park, Knoxville Convention Center, and other popular attractions. Accommodation packages include premium cable channels, coffee makers, Wi-Fi access, a dining area, a minibar, and a separate living space.

It comes with a on-site restaurant that serves three meals, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For fitness enthusiasts, Crowne Plaza provides 15000 sq feet of meeting space. What’s more, the hotel is pet-friendly.

Graduate Knoxville 

For our third spot, we recommend Graduate Knoxville. The amenities are high-end. It provides an on-site restaurant, Saloon 16 bar, ideal for locals, tourists, and other guests in the city. Every room is intricate and stylish, making your stay convenient and incredible, too. It is close to public transportation, malls, commercial establishments, and world-class tourist destinations in Knoxville.

Restaurants Nearby

After a stressful and tiring week in the office, you deserve to treat yourself to a sumptuous and delicious feast. But where to eat in Knoxville, Tennessee? Here are the top three most visited restaurants in the city:

Altruda’s Italian Restaurant

Tired of burgers? Want some Italian foods like pizza, bottarga, lasagna, Fiorentina steak, Ribollita, Polenta, Ossobuco, Risotto, and Carbonara? Visit Altruda’s Italian Restaurant when you go to Knoxville for a vacation.

It is located at 125 North Peters Road, Knoxville, Tennessee. You can also call the restaurant at 865-690-6144 to make reservations.

Bistro At The Bijou 

Award-winning? World-class? One of the top restaurants in Knoxville? Bistro at The Bijou should be on top of your bucket list. It serves authentic cuisine for lunch and dinner. Aside from delicious and good foods, live jazz musicians perform in the evening. As you take a bite and talk with your friend, you can sing along with good singers. Located in a 206-year-old building, Bistro at the Bijou is in downtown Knoxville.

Brazeiros Churrascaria

Want to take a tour of the unique cuisine of Rio Grande do Sul of Brazil? You do not have to go to the Rio Grande to do that. Brazeiros Churrascaria can exceed and satisfy your cravings. Its roasted beef, lamb, chicken, and pork are one of the best. It is best paired with a glass of wine, and Brazeiros Churrascaria has various options to choose from. So, what are you waiting for? The best dining experience awaits you!

More Things to Do in the Area

The dragon light lantern festival is a good tourist destination for travelers who like to unwind. But do not end your travel with the light display alone. Make your escapade merrier with these destinations!

Knoxville Museum of Art

Nothing is more relaxing than exploring paintings and arts. Right? The Museum of Art in Knoxville can go beyond your expectations. It provides a gallery with a heap of art. There is no entrance fee, so visit the museum with your buddies!

Tennessee Theatre

Recognized as one of the unique buildings in Knoxville, Tennessee Theatre will leave you in amazement. The ceiling is magnificent. It is very peaceful with a long history you cannot afford to ignore as an adventurous traveler.


1. What Are the Parking Options at Dragon Light Festival?

In past years, on-site parking has generally been available at the Dragon Light Festival venue. However, it’s advisable to check the most up-to-date information once the festival resumes from its current hiatus.

2. Is Smoking Allowed at the Dragon Light Festival?

Smoking is not permitted within the Dragon Light Festival grounds. Designated smoking areas are typically available outside the main festival area.

3. Can I Bring My Pets to the Dragon Light Festival?

Pets are not permitted at the festival, with the exception of service animals that have proper identification. The festival is currently on hiatus, and this policy may be reviewed upon its return.

4. What Is the Admission Cost?

The cost of admission has varied in the past. Given the festival’s current hiatus, it’s best to stay tuned for the latest details on ticket pricing for future events.

5. Is the Dragon Light Festival Wheelchair Accessible?

Yes, the venue has generally been wheelchair accessible, including designated parking and restroom facilities for guests with disabilities.

6. Are Food and Beverages Available?

The Dragon Light Festival has offered a variety of food and beverage stalls, including options for those with dietary restrictions. Alcoholic beverages have also been available for purchase.

7. Can I Take Photos and Videos?

Yes, personal photography and videography have been allowed. However, commercial or promotional photography has required prior approval from festival management.

8. What Are the Safety Measures in Place?

Safety has been a priority at the Dragon Light Festival, with security personnel stationed throughout the venue and first aid services available for emergencies.

For the most current information, it’s advisable to consult the Dragon Light Festival’s official website or customer service once the festival is back in operation.




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