KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A traditional Chinese festival is getting underway in Kalamazoo this weekend.

The 2023 Lantern Festival Gala is happening Saturday. Organizers say the festival will mark the first full moon of the Lunar New Year and is meant to promote reconciliation, peace and forgiveness.

Prior to the pandemic, the festival has been held at Kalamazoo’s Epic center during Art Hop. This year, it’s expanding to include performances from the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, local dance groups and much more.

Western Michigan University is helping put on the event.

“After we had a hard few years of the pandemic, I think we really need to have something to celebrate together to share our happiness,” Ying Zeng, the director of Asian initiatives for MWU said.

The Lantern Festival Gala will happen at 4 p.m. Saturday at Chenery Auditorium in Kalamazoo.

General admission tickets are $8. Tickets for students, seniors and WMU employees are $5. More information can be found at wmich.edu.