More than 15,000 people attended the three days of the Destination Asia Festival at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle (4100 Route 53).
The consecutive event, which began on Friday, Aug. 4 and concluded on Sunday, Aug. 6, encouraged people to experience diversity and the cultures of Asia via music, dance, food and intergenerational activities.
Demonstrations included sumo wrestling and coordinated drumming presentations. A Chinese lion appeared magically by The Seven Star Lion Dance Group of Chicago.
“We love it,” said Kam Cho, event coordinator with The Seven Star Lion Dance Group.
“I think it’s (Destination Asia Festival) great for the kids to understand all types of culture,” Cho said.
More than 36 performers were part of the weekend itinerary, said Gina Steele, special events coordinator with The Morton Arboretum.
“We hope that people will visit and learn more about our Asian collections, some of the oldest collections on our grounds, and a little bit about what we do here at the arboretum with our collaborations in China and other countries to collect seeds to maintain this beautiful tree atmosphere, ” Steele said.
Of Destination Asia Festival: “It’s a great place to celebrate with your family,” Steele said.
More than eight countries were represented over the fourth annual event weekend.
“This is fabulous,” said attendee Gina Parker of Forest Park.
“I was so excited to do this.”
As part of Friday opening ceremonies, sunset included more than 300 luminaria which were placed to float on the surface of Meadow Lake.
The itinerary offering, new this year, is known as the Toro Nagashi Japanese floating lantern display.
The addition, a sold-out opportunity, allowed people, for a nominal fee, to personalize lanterns with artwork and messages, their choice.
“Visitors can customize a lantern that celebrates the passing of a loved one, or a favorite memory, or a hope for the future,” Steele said.
Steele was among three people on a boat which moved about slowly on Meadow Lake. The trio worked as a team to light the lanterns, placing them gently on the lake’s surface as the boat floated quietly.
Many of the lanterns drifted in light breezes to the western or northerly water shorelines.
People watched the boating activity and experienced the warm glow of the lanterns as the lighting deepened with the sun setting under clear skies with temperatures in the 65-degree range.
“It’s beautiful,” said one onlooker, who sat in a folding chair.
Children played with their families along the lawn by the shores off the trail. Cell phone cameras flashed. There was laughter along with whispers among spectators.
People were reflected on the mostly calm lake surface, like a mirror.
Jo Hoffmann of Downers Grove was an event volunteer, staffing the table outdoors where attendees could write on their lanterns in preparation for that evening’s launch.
“It’s very special for people,” Hoffmann said. “I think it’s a wonderful idea.”
In his blue Chicago Cubs hat, writing on a lantern approximately two hours before sunset was Jim Moravcik of Naperville.
The lantern was to be placed in memory, “for my son,” Moravcik said.
“Just sending up to him,” Moravcik said, “so he knows that I’m thinking of him.”
—- Diversity of Asian cultures celebrated at Morton Arboretum —