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About Lanterns and Wildwood Park for the Arts


The annual Lanterns Festival at Wildwood Park for the Arts is the park's primary fundraising event. Wildwood Park is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

The Lanterns Festival is run almost entirely by volunteers from the community, along with the park's staff and board members. We always welcome the assistance of new volunteers who can help with setting up the festival and welcoming the thousands of guests who join us for Lanterns weekend.

If you would like to volunteer to help for one or more shifts (approximately 4 hours) at Lanterns 2024, please fill out our Lanterns Volunteer Information Form and submit it no later than April 18. Our volunteer coordinator will soon contact you to confirm and provide additional information.


The Evolution of Lanterns

Lanterns was founded in 2005 as a way to raise funds to preserve Wildwood Park's 105 acres of green space and wildlife habitats. The festival also supports Wildwood's nature and arts education programs, including

  • The spring Junior Master Naturalists Camp

  • Year-round piano and voice lessons

  • The Wildwood Academy of Music and the Arts (WAMA), a series of week-long summer day camps focused on visual and performing arts instruction for children

Originally the festival was patterned after similar lanterns festivals in China celebrating the lunar new year. Lanterns was created in partnership with the Arkansas Chinese-American Association. As it became more popular, additional cultural tributes were added. Lanterns became a multicultural event spread across the entire park.

In 2021, the scheduling of Lanterns was shifted to April to take advantage of better weather conditions. The festival's roots in Chinese culture are still treasured, however, and the Arkansas Chinese-American Association is a valued presence at every Lanterns.

How Lanterns Connects to Wildwood's Mission

There's something fun for just about everyone at Lanterns, so this festival is a fantastic opportunity for the park to invite our community members to visit and explore everything Wildwood has to offer.

We are committed to creating fun and affordable cultural experiences for the entire community -- especially children, who will be stewards of the land in years to come and who are the future of the arts in Arkansas. We keep our festival admission prices for children deliberately low so that you can afford to bring the whole family!

We are also committed to supporting and nurturing local artists, providing them a welcoming and inspiring environment where they can showcase their skills and be paid as professionals. We value opportunities to partner with other artistic organizations in the state to create truly outstanding performances.

Whether you are an artist yourself, enjoy watching others perform, or simply love natural beauty and peaceful surroundings, we want to be your home for nature and the arts in west Little Rock!

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