A traditional Chinese celebration, with a Canadian touch

Performers dance at the White Rock Moon Festival. | Photo by Derek Hayes.

Performers dance at the White Rock Moon Festival. | Photo by Derek Hayes.

The White Rock waterfront will be lit up with lanterns when the Second Annual Moon Festival arrives this September. For three days, music, arts, food and dancing will be on hand for the celebration.

The festival is the brainchild of Erik Stepura, who proposed the idea to the city council.

“We’re partnering with the Chinese Cultural Society to perform this,” said Helen Fathers, a member of the city council. “There are many things to see, the largest being the whole waterfront covered in Chinese lanterns.”

Building on last year’s success

Rain or shine, the festival will go on.

“The reviews were all positive,” says Fathers. “The festival went very well last year, and it will again.”

Mia Chao is co-founder and director of the White Rock Arts Center, which is helping host the celebration.

“We wanted to host this. [The Moon Festival] promotes peace, love and understanding. We want to be the ones promoting that,” says Chao.

New take on traditional festival

Moon Festivals are a tradition in China, but this one isn’t a replica.

“We are Chinese, but we are also Canadians,” says Chao. “We are having this festival for Canadians, all of us.”

The festival takes place over three days, from Sept. 5–7. Fireworks will open the festival on the evening of the 5th, while other days will offer traditional Chinese moon cakes (a thin pastry with a dense filling) and other food, as well as martial arts, lily dancing, arts and crafts and music from pop, classical, country and jazz.

“The music is important,” says Chao, “The performances are all live, and the music is only maybe 20 per cent from China; the rest is Canadian.”

Chao hopes that the festival will have a broad community appeal.

“The important thing is to bring the community together. It is not just a celebration of China, it is a celebration for Canadians,” says Chao.

 The White Rock Second Annual Moon Festival takes place Sept. 5–7 at the pier.