The highly anticipated Lantern Festival is now open at the St. Louis’ Missouri Botanical Garden. Lantern Festival: Art by Day, Magic by Night features more than two dozen towering, illuminated Chinese lanterns set among the horticultural treasures of one the oldest national botanical gardens. A first of its kind in the US, the exhibit focuses on one of China’s most treasured traditions. Thirty-three Chinese lantern artisans spent two months at the Botanical Garden constructing the art pieces, which depict Chinese legends and culture. The striking sets, crafted primarily of colorful silks and molded steel, showcase traditions and symbolism through larger-than-life displays lit for evening viewing. The 79 acres of striking horticultural flaunt serves as a visually impressive canvas not only for the immense lanterns. Eight meetings venues are equally remarkable. The indoor facilities include the 380-pax Shoenberg Theater and Monsanto Hall, with a barrel-vaulted ceiling and rotating art exhibits that seats 240 for dinner. Spink Pavilion, situated on the grand plaza that overlooks the three large reflecting lily pools, The Miles Sculpture Garden and the world renowned Climatron conservatory, accommodates up to 125 for cocktail receptions. The lantern exhibition marks the end of the Missouri Botanical Garden’s 25-year “Flora of China” research project, which cataloged thousands of Chinese plants in a multi-volume encyclopedia. The festival runs through August 19.