By Assunta Ng
I consider Luminasia at the Washington State Fair amazingly avant garde and dramatically in the style of Chihuly.
Inspired by the art of Chinese lanterns, Luminasia transformed a piece of dull land into a Chinese garden with glowing objects, including a gigantic dragon boat, a bridge, pagodas, koi fish, lotus flowers, frogs, and butterflies. Lanterns in Chinese culture are used to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival — also known as the Moon Cake Festival — and now is the perfect time for such a display.
The dramatic entryway to Luminasia is marked with lit Japanese waves and a flare of the Northwest, featuring Mt. Rainier, the Space Needle, and dramatic Totem Poles. Visitors couldn’t believe what they were seeing! I heard people saying, “Wow,” “It’s so cool,” and “It’s beautiful!”
The lanterns reminded me of my childhood during the days of the Moon Cake Festivals. I would pray, “Please God, no rain,” since the animal-shaped lanterns were made of paper, and were lit by candles. The good thing is, rain can’t ruin the fair’s lanterns as they are made of waterproof materials.
More than 40 Chinese artists from Sichuan came to Puyallup a month ago to help make and install the pieces of illuminated art. Some smaller pieces were made in China and then shipped to Seattle. While some artisans had gone back to China, a crew of over 10 stay behind to maintain the show.
If you haven’t yet visited Washington State Fair this year, you should. Remember to stay after 7 p.m. for Luminasia to see the lights. The show might not be there next year. It will travel to Long Beach after Oct. 13. Each piece of artwork is for sale after the exhibit.
State Fair has Asian history
The fairgrounds were once an internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II called Camp Harmony. Of course, no one mentioned this fact.
The visitors at the fair were diverse. As the largest single annual attraction held in the state of Washington, it draws over a million fans every year.
If you like rides, go to the fair. I couldn’t count the number of rides on site. There was a variety for all ages — scary and fun, round and square, high and low.
Slingshot, a one-minute ride, is the scariest most expensive ride. Even without riding, my heart dropped when I watched the crazy adults in line. They screamed their heads off during the ride. Yes, the workers shot you high like a slingshot five times in the air and rolled you upside down. It cost $30 per person. I’d rather save the 30 bucks for a hot dog, turkey leg, and drinks.
At the fair, lots of people were carrying man-sized stuffed animals for winning games. Yet most people lost more than won. (end)