Photo Essay: 2012 Chinatown Autumn Moon Festival

The annual Autumn Moon Festival was held in San Francisco’s Chinatown last weekend, and I went in with camera blazing. Like the neighborhood itself, the festival is one of the city’s more eclectic street fairs; think Chinatown on steroids. I knew from past experience that the Autumn Moon Festival is a photographic gold mine, and this year didn’t disappoint …

Held annually the third weekend of September, the festival marks the 1,000-year-old Chinese tradition of celebrating the summer harvest, the full moon and the myth of the moon goddess, Chang-O, who should not be confused with Yeah Yeah Yeah’s singer Karen O.

This was the 22nd running of the festival, and the weather couldn’t have been more autumn perfect. Fun fact: the Autumn Moon Festival was first held in 1991 as a way to help Chinatown merchants recover from the devastating Loma Prieta earthquake, and it quickly became one of the city’s major annual events. By all reports, this year saw one of the biggest crowds ever, probably due to the awesome weather and an aggressive marketing campaign.

While tourists are usually blown away by the exoticism of Chinatown, we locals know that our Chinatown can also be a little tacky, and that’s exactly how we like it. Where else can you get dim sum, a Hello Kitty lunchbox, a tiger mask, orchids, a palm reading, dragon hair candy and the best moon cake this side of … well, the moon? Chinatown, that’s where!

Ladies and gentlemen, here’s the 2012 San Francisco Chinatown Autumn Moon Festival!

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About Stephen Kelly Creative

Hi, I'm Stephen Kelly, a writer, editor, photographer and graphic designer living in beautiful San Francisco, CA, USA. Amongst the things I love are writing, photography, movies, music, fitness, travel, Batman, all things Australian, food and fun, all of which I hope to reflect in this here blog. Welcome aboard ... now let's get busy!
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22 Responses to Photo Essay: 2012 Chinatown Autumn Moon Festival

  1. viveka says:

    WoOooOoOoondrful! Love street photos – and here is everything I would look for in China Town. My favorite .. not easy. Street Vendor and Fire Escape 1 are my pick. Never heard about autumn moon festival – something they must have in China itself too.

  2. Hi, Stephen! What a vibrant and wonderful celebration it seems to be! I wish I could get some dim sum (my favorite dessert is egg yolk cake), or maybe some moon cake (is that the little round cookie-like cakes that have Chinese writing in red on them, and some meat and sweet red bean paste on the inside?). As you can guess, holidays are often gustatory for me. But you have a lot of exciting and beautiful images gathered here as well. Have a great time at the festival with your friends and people there.

  3. adinparadise says:

    It all looks so exciting. Stephen. Wonderful photos. I love the name, ‘Blossom Bakery’. 🙂

  4. Angeline M says:

    We planned our anniversary weekend getaway for the wrong place!….Next year. This looks great.

  5. ledrakenoir says:

    Wonderful shots… 😉

  6. ilargia64 says:

    Good Night? (in Spain, yes)!,…I love your pics…There is something mysterious about the one named “Golden door”..There is a very intelligent election of the lines (mainly vertical) in many pics..
    Thanks for sharing this!.

  7. My Life In Focus says:

    Great pics. Did you know you can select the ‘slideshow’ option when you have several photos to post? Makes it easier on the reader. Thanks for sharing.

  8. petit4chocolatier says:

    Wonderful pictures! It looks like a lot of fun, and you can see that a lot of work goes into this event.

  9. Anonymous says:

    A great write up about the festival and your vibrant photos continue to tell the story. Awesome Stephen!

  10. Betty Kelly says:

    “Hey, I sent another screen shot of a travel website that asked permission to use one of my pics on their Hong Kong page! Pretty cool, huh? I’m getting out there!”

    Your writing and photography are paying off with the recognition you received from that travel website. Your work is fantastic!!! Your latest blog on the Chinese Autumn Festival held my interest with your informative writing and excellent photography. I’m sure you will receive many opportunities as you pursue your craft.

    I had Uncle Joe and Aunt Mary here for lunch – hoagies. I bought a new wireless telephone with two telephone extensions which Uncle Joe installed for me since I am now with Verizon telephone service. There is a main base that requires a jack, but all extensions are just plugged into an electrical outlet which doesn’t require jacks. I wanted to go totally with Verizon for the package – telephone, Internet and TV, but Fios hasn’t been installed in our area. So I had to stay with Comcast for TV and Internet, but when Fios is finally installed, I will switch to Verizon. Since Uncle Joe is a retired Verizon guy and knowledgeable in installation, he was kind enough to help me out, but I think I made a boo-boo and blocked my telephone number. I have a call in to Joe to assist me with this problem. Right now, I can’t receive any incoming calls. Hopefully, we can resolve this issue via of telephone and hope he doesn’t have to make an extra trip here. They are going to the mountains tomorrow, so if he can’t make it, I’ll have to call for a Verizon tech or maybe they can walk me through on the phone.

    Frank called today and so far no job. He’s been checking, but all the salaries are low. He has until February for unemployment assistance. Hopefully, he’ll find something before then, if not he’ll have to take one of the low paying jobs.

    Shannon’s birthday is Saturday – her 18th. Her boyfriend, Michael, is taking her out for dinner on Saturday and Frank and family are taking her to dinner Sunday.
    Of course, I wasn’t invited since the bitch doesn’t consider me part of the family.

    That’s about it for now – keep up the great work. I’m mighty proud of you!!!!

    Love, Mom

  11. Enjoyed the chance to visit Chinatown! Did you buy a dragon? Thanks for stopping by my blog.

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