autumn moon festival

New Autumn Moon Festival rises on Clement Street

by Alex Bocknek

autumn moon cover

At the first-ever Autumn Moon Festival on Clement Street, Assemblyman Phil Ting gave a certificate of recognition to the Golden Gate Park Senior Center’s dance group. Also attending the event were Miss Asian America, Katie Melanie Lam (right), and Mark Chan, who was the master of ceremonies at the main stage. Photos by Patrick McKinnie.

Hundreds of local San Francisco residents began crowding the already busy

commercial section of Clement Street, between Fifth to Eighth avenues, by 10 a.m.

on Sept. 23 for the Richmond District’s first annual Autumn Moon Festival.


While this is not the only Autumn Moon Festival celebration in San Francisco, or even on

the west side of the City, with sister events in Chinatown and the Sunset District,

Assemblymember Phil Ting, District 1 Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, Community Youth

Center of San Francisco, Richmond District Neighborhood Center and the Clement

Street Merchants Association collaboratively organized the festival to bring the

celebration of Chinese culture to the Richmond for the first time.


“This is a very special time in Chinese tradition and we are so glad to be bringing

it to the Richmond District,” said Fewer at a press conference for the event on Sept.

21. “In the Richmond District, we have over 40 percent of our residents being

Chinese. It is ideal that we are hosting this in our neighborhood.”


The weather was sunny for the debut of the Richmond District’s Autumn Moon
Festival, which was held on Clement Street between Fifth and Eighth avenues.

This year’s festival was sponsored by AT&T, Recology, Toyota, San Francisco Association

of Realtors, Kaiser Permanente, Safeway, Tat Wong Kung Fu Academy, PG&E, World

Journal, Skylink and Comcast. One of the festival’s sponsors, AT&T, donated a $5,000

check to the Richmond District Neighborhood Center in support of the event.


Traditionally, the Autumn Moon Festival is the second most important celebration

in Chinese culture, surpassed only by the Lunar New Year. The moon festival honors the

Chinese Goddess Chang’e, a moon deity associated with immortality. It is a celebration of

harvest bounty, family and prayer, much like the American Thanksgiving.


While the formally observed date for the 2017 festival is Oct. 4, the Richmond

celebration featured many of the modern traditions associated with the festival,

including moon cakes, Chinese food and a red and gold balloon arch, in place of

standard paper lanterns.


More than 50 booths from local businesses, organizations and sponsors populated the

three block stretch, with a main stage at Fifth Avenue for speeches and performances.

The stage featured lion dancing and martial arts demonstrations, courtesy of Tat Wong,

as well as a dance routine from a local senior organization and singers performing

standards and pop numbers in Chinese and English.

The stage was hosted by Miss Asian California, Katie Melanie Lam, and Mark Chan, from

Sing Tao Radio.

Food artist and chef Jimmy Zhang (left) stands next to sculptures made out of fruit. Also enjoying the festival was SF police officer Devan Green, who gives a young boy a “high-five” for stopping by to say hello.


Chinese Deputy Consul General Ren Faqiang made a guest appearance to acknowledge

the importance of the event and the efforts of its hosts.


“Some of our staff at the Chinese Consulate live in your district,” Faqiang

said. “Festivals unite people. Festivals are better than war and conflict.”


The large turnout of families and locals throughout the five-hour duration of the

festival made a strong case in support of the deputy consul general’s observation.

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