On the 30th anniversary of the Taiwan Lantern Festival, not only was the location of the event geographically distinct, but the theme, lights, and colors of the opening night were amped up in part by the addition of the festival’s first-ever drone light show. The millions of people who attended the 13-day event were welcomed by 16,000 glowing lanterns, 300 soaring Intel drones, colorful fireworks, live music and entertainment, a water show, folk art activities, food and drink, and much more.
Often held in the northern part of the country, the 2019 event took place in the southernmost city of Pingtung. Starting on the 15th day of the first month in the lunar calendar, the festival’s theme is usually an animal from the Chinese zodiac, but not this year! In recognition of Pingtung’s history as a coastal and maritime city, a 52-foot (16 meters) Golden Bluefin Tuna lantern was the showstopper of the event.
Lighting up the sky each evening were drone animations that showcased the city’s unique culture, including a yacht, a giant tuna, a lighthouse, and other regional themes. Event organizers, who spent a year planning the festival, implemented eco-friendly practices including the recycling of many of the hand-held lanterns into piggybanks, donating materials to other countries for their own upcoming lantern festivals, and preserving the big tuna as a permanent installment in the city of Pingtung.