QUINCY – Jax Walker was all smiles and full of energy as he bounded up to his mom, Maureen Walker, waving the rooster craft he had just made. The 4-year-old showed off his craft, made of single-serve creamer containers, feather and googly eyes, before racing off to another station, where he made replicas of traditional mooncakes out of play dough.
“Jax is having the best time,” his mom said. “He was just fascinated by the dragon dancers. They came out and really played on audience participation and got right up to his face. He got so excited.”
Mother and son were among the roughly 20,000 people who came to Coddington Street on Sunday afternoon to celebrate Quincy’s 30th annual August Moon Festival.
“I grew up here so I used to go to this when I was younger. I just can’t believe how much it’s grown,” Walker said. “It’s so great that he’s learning about other cultures and animals.”
Quincy Asian Resources has hosted the festival, previously held in North Quincy, for 16 years. Also referred to as the Mid-Autumn Festival, the event is celebrated by Chinese and Vietnamese cultures every August.
“The city has been embracing all different cultures, and with the growing population of Asians they see it as a great way to bring people together – not just Asian people but people of all cultures,” said Quincy Asian Resources CEO Philip Chong.
Aaron Lin, who volunteered at the festival, said August is the biggest moon of the year. “In the Chinese culture, you see the moon and you have memories of your family.”
The festival filled Coddington Street with bounce houses, food tents, performances and children’s activities that focused on various aspects of Chinese culture. The tents offered calligraphy lessons, traditional Chinese painting, chopstick skills, crafting roosters to represent Chinese Zodiac and creating mooncakes, a food that symbolizes family unity.
“You put your wishes for your family into the August mooncake and when you eat it, it’s like your wishes are coming true,” Lin said.
Thousands of guests from across the South Shore mingled among the stands, stopped at the petting zoo and watched demonstrations on a stage in the Quincy High School courtyard.
Mickey Wong, of North Quincy, had her two children, Brandon, 10, and Summer, 7, participating in a taekwondo demonstration.
“We come every year and we’ve seen it in all locations but this one is good, it’s really big and the kids love the petting zoo,” she said. “It’s important to keep heritage alive and come to these things at least a few times a year.”
Mary Whitfill may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.