The Autumn Moon Festival Will Take Chinatown By Storm On September 11 And 12

Jamie Ferrell Jamie Ferrell

The Autumn Moon Festival Will Take Chinatown By Storm On September 11 And 12

Enjoy nonstop entertainment, mooncakes and more all down Grant Avenue.

The Autumn Moon Festival is here! Chinatown’s beloved event celebrating the moon and summer harvest goes back to 1991. The 2021 festival will happen on September 11 and 12 from 11am-5pm!

This spectacular festival will take Chinatown by storm, with countless food vendors, nonstop entertainment, lion dancing, mooncakes, kids’ activities, and more. The event is free to attend and will happen all along Grant Avenue between Broadway and California Street. The San Francisco Chinatown Merchants Association has worked around the clock to produce an unforgettable weekend.

“Traditionally, the Autumn Moon Festival celebrates the bounty of summer harvest where festivities embody the spirit of  gratitude and familial unity,” wrote SF Supervisor Aaron Peskin in a statement. “After more than 18 months of challenges brought on by the pandemic and anti-API sentiments, this year’s festival will also be a display of the community’s resiliency and strength and offer a much-needed space for the community to reflect and heal.”

Here’s the event lineup for the weekend, happening at Commercial & Grant:

Saturday, September 11

  • 11:00am-11:30am – Opening Parade/Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
  • 11:30am-12:00pm – Yau Kung Moon Lion Dancing/Martial Arts
  • 12:00pm-12:10pm – DJ/Max Leung Introduction
  • 12:10pm-12:30pm – Dragon of the West (rapper)
  • 12:40pm-1:10pm – Winnie Wong (guzheng)
  • 1:20pm-1:40pm – Son of Paper (rapper)
  • 1:50pm-2:10pm – Flora Hui (singer)
  • 2:20pm-2:40pm – Chino Yang (rapper)
  • 2:50pm-3:20pm – The Complements (singing duet)
  • 3:30pm-3:50pm – Chow Mane (rapper)
  • 4:00pm-4:30pm – Tony Martinez (Cuban Jazz)
  • 4:40pm-5:00pm – LionDanceMe Lion Dancing
  • Emcee: Max Leung
  • DJ Music by Zobe

Sunday, September 12

  • 10:00am-11:00am – Tai Chi Yuan
  • 11:00am-12:00pm – White Crane Lion Dance/Martial Arts
  • 12:00pm-12:45pm – Ultra World X-TET
  • 1:00pm-1:45pm – Kultura Kapwa Kulintang Ensemble
  • 2:00pm-2:45pm – Flying Angels Chinese Dance Group
  • 3:00pm-4:30pm – Kelly Keys band with Flora Hui & Grant Ave Follies
  • 4:30pm – White Crane Dragon Finale
  • Emcees: Rose Chung and Max Leung
  • Guest appearances:
    • Panda – Avis See-Tho, Louise Ow Ling
    • Moon Goddess – Mimi Chin; Archer – Mark Wong
    • Moon Goddess – Flora Hui
    • Jing Mo Lion Dance group (Opening and closing parades)

The Moon Festival celebrates the “glories and mysteries of the moon,” according to the Festival website. The sun and moon were revered as deities for centuries, and the moon has a particular relation to water in ancient Asian mythology. It is said to influence bountiful autumn harvests by promoting soil fertility.


The moon also represents yin, or the female principle, in Chinese celestial cosmology. This feminine connection meant that women took part in Moon Festival rituals, such as offering mooncakes, incense, fruit, flowers, and candles at household altars. The femininity of the moon is also embodied by the Moon Goddess, Chang E.

Photo by Huong Ho on Unsplash

A mooncake is a traditional Chinese pastry and symbolic food eaten around the time of the Autumn Moon Festival. They usually have a flaky crust and contain a variety of fillings, from pork to sweet lotus paste. You’ll surely find plenty of mooncakes at various vendors along Grant Ave!

Enjoy the dazzling Autumn Moon Festival in Chinatown on Saturday and Sunday, September 11 and 12, from 11am-5pm! Find the action on Grant Avenue between Broadway and California St.

If you can’t make it to the festival, you can still visit Grant Avenue on any other weekend. Walkway Weekends will close the street to car traffic every Saturday and Sunday through the end of the year!


Featured image: Michael Urmann via Shutterstock

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