QUINCY — From dragons to street performers, the August Moon Festival will have it all when it returns to Quincy Center for its 31st year on Sunday.
August Moon Festivals, sometimes called Mid-Autumn Festivals, are celebrated in Chinese and Vietnamese cultures. The festival is traditionally held on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar with a full moon. Quincy Asian Resources Inc. CEO Philip Chong said the “mythical” meaning of the tradition was to gather family and celebrate the harvest, but here in Quincy he said it’s all about celebrating the merging of Asian and American cultures.
“It gives immigrants a sense of belonging to the community,” he said.
The August Moon Festival will take over Coddington Street between Washington Street and Southern Artery from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The festival begins with a ceremonial dragon dance, but includes various Asian influences ranging from the traditional to the modern. The road will be closed to traffic all day.
Quincy Asian Resources Inc. sponsors the festival, in partnership with the city, and Chong said the support from Quincy over of the years has really helped the festival grow and thrive.
“It shows dedication from the city that they care,” Philip Chong said. “They care about immigrants, newcomers, people from different cultures and embracing all differences. I think that’s very important, especially nowadays and especially with what’s happening in our country and in the world, it’s a strong message.”
About one-third of Quincy residents claimed Asian heritage in the 2010 census and Chong said the population has continued to climb.
The festival started as a small gathering in a church parking lot, but over the decades the festivities have spilled into the streets. It has grown to be one of the largest August Moon gatherings in New England, drawing crowds of up to 20,000 in recent years.
Ellen Kaye, events coordinator with Quincy Asian Resources Inc., said this year is poised to be even bigger. Just as in past years, this year’s festival will feature the usual roster of live music, cultural events and diverse food trucks.
New this year will be a craft beer garden and even more food vendors, an expanded kid’s zone with a larger petting zoo, giant oversized backyard games and ticket giveaways by WEEI Boston sports radio.