By Ariel Soto
There is no such thing as a lull on Grant Avenue in San Francisco’s Chinatown, but this past weekend things were especially active and colorful in observance of the Autumn Moon Festival, a celebration of the beginning of the fall and the hope for a bountiful harvest season. As a photographer for SFBG, I get to cover many such cultural events and happenings (yes, my job is awesome!) and after visiting several of these street festivals this summer, I really think this one takes the cake, possibly a sweet moon cake, for being very authentic and for giving visitors a real taste of the true Chinatown. Musicians played traditional Chinese folk music with a plethora of unique and beautiful instruments, while men competed in a Chinese Chess championship, while munching on steam buns and salted peanuts. Vendors sold everything from orchids, to hair dyes and curry fish balls, and many other items that I really couldn’t identify since all the signs were written in Chinese, which made the festival even more fun and an example of how this was really a celebration for the neighborhood community and not just for the out of town tourists passing through. My two favorite parts of the afternoon were a lavishly dressed singing duo who took the stage to sing and dance and just make everyone smile with their catchy tunes, and the 10-pound bag of dim sum I took home and devoured with a hot cup of tea.