Dancers from Leung White Crane school perform at the Mid-Autumn Festival in the Outer Sunset on Sept. 11. Leung White Crane school prides itself on being one of the longest performing lion dance schools outside of China. (Joshua Carter / Golden Gate Xpress) (Joshua Carter)
Dancers from Leung White Crane school perform at the Mid-Autumn Festival in the Outer Sunset on Sept. 11. Leung White Crane school prides itself on being one of the longest performing lion dance schools outside of China. (Joshua Carter / Golden Gate Xpress)

Joshua Carter

Sunset District hosts three Mid-Autumn Festival events

After a two year hiatus, the Sunset Chinese Cultural District, Sunset Youth Services and other local organizations came together to host three unique Mid-Autumn Festival events.

September 12, 2022

Residents of the Sunset District came together to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival after two years of limited gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival or the Mooncake Festival, dates back to over 3,000 years ago. It is widely recognized as the second largest Chinese festival after Chinese New Year. 

The tradition worships the moon for a successful harvest. Beyond that, it has become an opportunity for families to gather in celebration.

With one of the largest Chinese populations in the city, the Sunset hosted three unique Mid-Autumn Festival events over the weekend. 

Many other Asian countries celebrate the festival as well, such as Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The Sunset Chinese Cultural District hosted the first event on Saturday, a traditional festival with an emphasis on health awareness. Medical organizations such as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield set up informational booths and distributed COVID-19 vaccinations.

There were games and activities, including a prize wheel that gave out masks, COVID-19 tests and vouchers for free items at local businesses. At another booth, dozens of kids gathered to decorate their own traditional Chinese lanterns. The white paper lanterns transformed into colorful creations with the use of markers and stickers. 

Over the excited chatter, a varied selection of Chinese and American music played from a sound system.

Toward the beginning of the event, students of the local Wah Mei School – a legacy business that became the new steward of the Sunset Chinese Cultural District this year – performed a choreographed dance routine on the festival stage.

“We know that the community has been craving gathering,” said director of the cultural district Lily Wong. “With the Sunset Chinese Cultural District being new, we wanted to bring back events and activities – especially related to the Chinese culture – that brings communities together.”

According to Wong, this was the first time that the event happened since 2017.

The Sunset Youth Services organization worked in collaboration with the Sunset Chinese Cultural District for the festival.

“Especially right now, after COVID, events like this are essential for bringing people back together again,” said Ron Stueckle, co-founder of Sunset Youth Services. “I think it’s essential to build the community back up again.”

The second event, a Mid-Autumn Festival Twilight celebration, began Saturday night. The festivities included face painting, blacklight chalk art and a lantern parade for those who created lanterns earlier in the day.

The nighttime festival took place on the Great Highway Park as a way to promote the Great Highway Park Initiative. The initiative—backed by several local nonprofit organizations such as the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Livable City and GrowSF—aims to keep the Great Highway from Lincoln to Sloat a permanently car-free space.

The weekend of events concluded with a Mid-Autumn Festival-themed farmers market, hosted by the Outer Sunset Farmers Market & Mercantile. Vendors sold farm-fresh produce and locally made wares while the celebration ensued around them. 

The event offered another opportunity for children to craft their own lanterns and hosted a lion dancing performance for all attendees to enjoy.

“I think this is a great opportunity for the community, especially in this area, to come together and celebrate their own, as well as other people’s, cultures,” said Bumsoo Lim, a local attendee of the festival. “There aren’t too many community events in the Sunset, so this is a nice change to see everyone coming out and connecting with one another.”

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About the Contributors
Photo of Aiden Brady
Aiden Brady, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Aiden Brady (he/him) is the arts & entertainment for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in English literature. He was born in San Diego, California and currently lives in San Francisco. During his free time, he enjoys finding new music, attending concerts and watching sports.
Photo of Joshua Carter
Joshua Carter, Editor-in-Chief
Joshua Carter (he/him) is the editor-in-chief for Golden Gate Xpress. He transferred from CCSF as a creative writing major but quickly switched to photojournalism with a minor in geography once he landed at SF State. Joshua spent six years in the Navy, served as photo and nonfiction editor at Forum literary magazine, interned as an editorial intern at Alternative Press, and is striving to be a groundbreaking filmmaker and multimedia journalist. In his free time he listens to audiobooks, falls into wiki holes for hours, and performs with his punk band.

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