NEW: Is festival west of Boca on Trump, Chinese president’s agenda?


Local, national and international media are prodding the organizers of a west Boca Raton festival for what would be big news — a visit from President Donald J. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The closing ceremony of Hanart Culture’s eight-week Chinese Lantern Festival at Sunset Cove Amphitheater west of the city coincides with Chinese President Xi Jianping’s South Florida visit this weekend.

Invitations to the festival were extended to the White House and Chinese President, said Linda Hamburger, spokeswoman for Hanart.

» RELATED: West Boca will make Trump, Chinese president feel right at home

“We’d be delighted and thrilled if even a representative came,” said Hamburger, who has fielded questions about the possible visit from Chinese news networks since last week.

Hamburger, who has worked for entertainment companies that have organized rallies and visits for presidential candidates, said notice of a leader’s visit is known to come less than 24 hours in advance.

“The fact that the president of China and Trump happen to be meeting at the same time (as the festival closing) was happenstance,” Hamburger said.

So a visit to the festival from Xi or Trump is not out of reach.

Xi is expected to stay at Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa in Manalapan on Thursday and Friday. Trump will be spending the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, just seven miles north of Eau Palm Beach.

If they were to visit the lantern festival, which features more than 800 illuminated lanterns handmade in China as well as entertainment, they might do so on Thursday to avoid the crowds of Friday’s closing reception..

But Friday is not out of the question.

More than 1,000 people have RSVP-ed for the reception, themed around diplomacy and cultural exchange, including diplomats from each country, some of the best table tennis players in the United States and local, national and international media, Hamburger said.

The reception nods to former President Richard Nixon’s era of ping-pong diplomacy, a term that refers to the exchange of table tennis players between the United States and China in the 1970s in what morphed into an unlikely diplomatic move. The shared sport led to renewed dialogue between the two countries, and paved the path for Nixon’s China visit in 1972.

The venue will be familiar to Trump, who this time last year held a campaign rally at Sunset Cove Amphitheater.

That could mean, Hamburger said, the venue has been vetted, which may alleviate security risks.

“I can’t venture to guess what may or may not be on their agenda,” she said. “But they’ve already checked out the venue once before.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Police: New Orleans mayoral candidate facing lewd conduct charge
Police: New Orleans mayoral candidate facing lewd conduct charge

A New Orleans mayoral candidate was arrested on a charge of lewd conduct after police said he was found with his pants pulled down in the back of an Uber in Santa Monica, Calif., Nola.com reported. >> Read more trending news Frank Scurlock was picked up on a charge of public masturbation in February, police said. Terry White, a deputy...
Floridians may qualify for food benefits after Irma
Floridians may qualify for food benefits after Irma

Floridians struggling with the aftereffects of Hurricane Irma could be eligible for help buying food. >> Read more trending news  Officials say households that may not normally be eligible under SNAP rules may qualify for two months of benefits through USDA’s Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. To be eligible, a family's...
Irma left many with that same empty feeling

Hurricanes force us to do a lot of things we ordinarily wouldn’t do. For example, I spent a hot, steamy night in a tent in the Keys with a man who’s not my husband. Covering Hurricane Irma’s march across the Lower Keys, photographer Lannis Waters and I had no place to stay in the storm’s powerless, waterless aftermath, so we...
Former CDC chief launches $225 million global health initiative
Former CDC chief launches $225 million global health initiative

Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is starting a new initiative to tackle some of global health’s thorniest issues: cardiovascular disease and epidemics. Frieden, a former New York City health commissioner who spent seven years leading the CDC during the Obama administration, said he chose those two...
‘Meds-to-beds’ programs aim to prevent re-hospitalization
‘Meds-to-beds’ programs aim to prevent re-hospitalization

As Larry Greer neared the end of a week-long stay at the Washington Hospital Center, he grew anxious. Greer, 57, had suffered a severe leg burn in a hot bath at home in May. Greer has diabetic neuropathy, which reduces feeling in his legs, and he didn’t realize how hot the water was. He received a skin graft at the hospital, where daily doses...
More Stories