Global Winter Wonderland Transforming Great America Parking Lot
By Robert Haugh

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Global Winter Wonderland Transforming Great America Parking Lot

Delicately adorning layers of exquisite silk, methodically tying thousands of lights, and masterfully welding an array of steel frames together takes an incredible amount of skill, patience and dedication.

These are some of the amazing tasks that approximately four-dozen Chinese engineers and artists have been working on for the last month, and will continue through the end of November on the seven-acre Global Winter Wonderland, a first-time ever event in the United States that will soon be brought to life in Great America’s overflow parking lot.

Twenty miles of silk, 15 tons of steel and an abundance of other materials, including aluminum cans, bottle caps, recycled batteries, CDs, porcelain dishes and flatware were shipped from China to the U.S. via 23, 40-foot cargo containers.

Global Winter Wonderland will be an enchanting five-acre Global Village featuring more than 40 illuminated structures, some nearly 50-feet tall and 100-feet long, many replicating some of the world’s most iconic landmarks, holiday themes and traditions.

Among the larger-than-life illuminated lanterns will be the Taj Mahal (India), Eiffel Tower (France), Pyramid of Chichen Izta (Mexico), Big Ben (England), St. Petersburg Cathedral (Russia) and the Golden Gate Bridge. Several engineers of the lanterns were part of the team that assembled several structures showcased at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games. The event will also feature an Indian Village showcasing indigenous peoples of North America, a dinosaur maze, an African prairie, Japanese cherry trees and much more.

In addition to the first-time-ever display of the Chinese lanterns in the United States, Global Winter Wonderland will feature holiday food, arts and crafts, a myriad of ethnic and cultural dance and music performances from around the World, Cabaret Luna (a stage with tribute acts to famous entertainers), an arcade midway and inflatable play land, holiday wine and ale tasting, plus two other stages with various performers.

The event essentially takes patrons "Around the World" in one day, with over seven acres filled with magical holiday exhibits, and guests being able to "shop, travel and taste the world" while enjoying entertainment showcasing cultures from around the globe.

Organizers expect over 300,000 guests to attend throughout the event. Similar events held in Canada, Australia, Germany and Malaysia have seen over 700,000 guests.

After about three months of work, Global Winter Wonderland opens on November 25.

Global Winter Wonderland is produced by the International Culture Exchange Group, an international event organizer working to promote cultural exchange between countries.

Global Winter Wonderland runs from November 25 through January 2. For more details, admission prices and schedules, visit www.globalwonderland.org. Visit www.cultureexchange.us for more information on ICEG