Ten years and millions of dollars later, Franklin Square's comeback is apparent each evening as visitors pass beneath the blue glow of the Welcome Gate – one of two dozen elaborate Chinese lanterns scattered throughout the 7.5-acre park.
The Chinese Lantern Festival, which kicked off in mid-April, attracted 25,000 visitors in its first month despite the rainy weather, according to Historic Philadelphia, the nonprofit that manages the park.
"People have come from every state," said Amy Needle, president and CEO of Historic Philadelphia. "Alaska and Hawaii came the first weekend."
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For the past two years, more than 1 million visitors went to Franklin Square annually, Needle said. About 80 percent of the visitors were Philly-area residents, she said.
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