Cheerful celebration of Chinese culture

As the season of beach bonfires, backyard barbecues and pool parties comes to a close, it’s time to remember Chang’e, the mythical Moon Goddess of Immortality, who saved China from an evil emperor many centuries ago.

More than 10,000 people are expected to hit the streets in the Sunset district on Saturday for the city’s sixth annual Autumn Moon Festival. For the first time, the celebration will also extend to the Peninsula, taking place in downtown San Mateo on Sunday.

“The Autumn Moon Festival is an important holiday within the Chinese-American community,” said San Francisco Supervisor Carmen Chu.

While the festivities are rooted in ancient lore, they are more about bringing the community together and introducing all people to the traditions of Chinese culture, said Maxine Yee, a member of the Sunset District Autumn Moon Festival Committee.

“It’s very educational, but just a fun time and we invite everyone to join us,” said Yee.

As the traditional food of the festival, moon cakes are a popular staple, but the story behind their creation is enticing as well. According to Yee, during the Yuan Dynasty, the people of China were successful in driving out the Mongols after a group devised a plan and secretly delivered it to the masses at the mid-autumn festival by baking it into these tasty pastries.

Aside from moon cakes, festival attendees will enjoy music, other food booths, art displays, various kids’ activities, cultural demonstrations and performances including the return of a popular martial arts show by a group of monks from the Shao-Lin Temple in China.

“All of us need to continue to recognize each other’s heritage and culture,” said state Sen. Leland Yee. “There’s something for everyone, from the youngest to the oldest. I hope people will come out and take a break from their daily lives.”


San Francisco Autumn Moon Festival

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Irving Street (between 22nd and 25th avenues)


Street closures from 3 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Irving Street from 22nd to 25th avenues
  • 23rd Avenue from Lincoln Way to Judah Street
  • 24th Avenue from Lincoln Way to Judah Street
  • 71 Haight-Noriega Muni bus route will be affected

San Mateo festival

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Ellsworth Avenue (between Third and Fifth avenues)


Other weekend events

Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival, Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

  • 19-Polk Muni route will be affected

Power to the Peaceful Festival, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

  • Heavy traffic expected in the area

Opera in the Park, 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday

The following Muni routes may have heavier ridership: 

  • N-Judah
  • 6-Parnassus
  • 33-Stanyan
  • 44-O’Shaughnessy
  • 71-Haight-Noriega

Other traffic information
7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: SFMTA will perform traffic signal upgrades for approximately 30 minutes each; traffic signals will be turned off but parking control officers will be directing traffic:

  • Fell Street from Franklin to Stanyan streets
  • Oak Street from Stanyan to Franklin streets
  • Octavia Boulevard from Market to Fell streets
  • Kezar Drive from Stanyan Street to Lincoln Way
  • Lincoln Way from Fifth to 19th avenues

Source: SFMTA