On Friday night, 27 bike-led carriages bedecked with dozens of glowing Chinese lanterns will carry passengers down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The spectacle, called Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies, is part of a host of events celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Parkway.
Created by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s, Fireflies features 900 lanterns and is the artist’s largest public art project in the U.S. in 10 years. The lights were crafted in Guo-Qiang’s hometown, Quanzhou, China. They come in a variety of modern and traditional forms such as emojis, pandas, roosters, tigers, space aliens and even hamburgers and sushi. Think of it as Franklin Square’s Chinese Lantern Festival on wheels.
If you want to be among the first to experience Fireflies, show up to the Parkway at 6:30pm on Thursday night for the opening celebration. Guo-Qiang will direct a one-time-only light and movement performance with the pedicabs before giving the public a chance to check out the vehicles and enjoy grub from food trucks that will be parked on site.
Public rides begin the following day, on Friday, September 15. They are free and will shuffle off starting at 6pm every Thursday through Sunday night from through October 8. Riders taking part will enjoy a one-way, super Instagrammable ride from Sister Cities Park to Iroquois Park, or vice versa. You’ll cross the Eakins Oval and glide by many of the museums that dominate the Parkway. Reserved rides are totally sold out, but walk-ups can be accommodated.
There was actually a sneak peek of Fireflies a few weeks ago. Check out some photos from that event below to get a hint of what to expect. Happy fireflying!