By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jun 08, 2018 at 4:15 PM

Boerner Botanical Gardens, 9400 W. Boerner Dr., in Hales Corners will host the popular "China Lights" Chinese lantern festival for the third straight year.

"China Lights: Panda-mania" is slated for Sept. 21–Oct. 21, in the gardens at Whitnall Park.

The show is again organized by Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc.

"This is a spectacular event that brings people together from across Milwaukee County and well beyond," said County Executive Chris Abele in a statement. "We are thrilled to bring back this partnership with China Lights and our Parks."

After a number of extensions the first year, when the festival exploded all expectations in terms of popularity, the event returned last year, drawing visitors from 44 states and Washington, D.C.

This year, the festival will include a number of panda-related lantern displays among the exhibits, which range from three feet to three stories in size and are dotted around the gardens, alongside Asian cultural performances, food areas and more.

"There’s something magical about the combination of this show at this location," said Kristen J. Talbott, senior vice president of Tri City National Bank, the show’s sponsor. "Boerner Botanical Gardens is, quite simply, the best venue to see this show. The displays are perfectly integrated into the garden spaces."

The festival will be open daily, except Mondays, from 5:30 until 10 p.m.

Online ticket sales open on Aug. 8, at 10:08 a.m. (a nod to the association in Chinese culture of the number eight with good luck) and include a limited number of exclusive preview tickets, a season pass and a single-visit VIP package.

Free parking will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis at the event.

For more information, visit ChinaLights.org.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.