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First-ever Cincinnati Moon Festival brings celebration of Chinese culture to Fountain Square
One of the biggest celebrations of Chinese culture will take place in the heart of Cincinnati for the first time this week with the Cincinnati Moon Festival at Fountain Square on Saturday, Sept. 29. Thousands are expected to attend this free event as part of the traditional Chinese observance of the autumn harvest moon.

Second only to the Chinese New Year, the Moon Festival is a significant celebration that marks the roundest, largest moon of the year. This cultural holiday is recognized throughout eastern Asia with a family gathering and lantern display, along with various customs and festivities. The festival dates back more than 3,000 years and is based on the Chinese lunar calendar.

“The Moon Festival is an opportunity for Cincinnati’s Chinese community to share its heritage and for our region to experience Chinese culture more intimately,” said Felicity Tao, chair of the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Cultural Exchange Association (GCCCEA). “This festival brings people together to honor beauty, light and harmony, and is an authentic way for us create a sense of cultural celebration.”

The inaugural Cincinnati Moon Festival will feature a variety of interactive activities, cultural exhibits, performances by local Chinese artists and the showing of a new Chinese movie entitled “37.” Various food vendors will be onsite along with opportunities to sample authentic Chinese pastries special to the festival called mooncakes. The event will conclude with a glowing paper lantern parade around Fountain Square.

This first-time event is the result of a collaborative effort between the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau and the GCCCEA. In conjunction with the Cincinnati USA CVB’s Vibe Cincinnati platform, the Cincinnati Moon Festival is an opportunity to promote inclusion and celebrate one of the region’s many cultures.

“Events like the Moon Festival are perfectly aligned with the CVB’s efforts to continue establishing the Cincinnati region as a destination that is welcoming to all,” said Julie Calvert, president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA CVB. “We are seeking ways to strategically further these efforts, foster relationships with diverse communities and ensure equity in events and experiences.”

Relationships between the Cincinnati USA CVB, the GCCCEA and Cincinnati’s Chinese community have been developing throughout the last year due in part to cultural advisory councils established by the CVB. The CVB has intentionally increased its presence and visibility at key functions within the Chinese community to build authentic connections for future opportunities.

As part of the Cincinnati Moon Festival, Dr. Yumin Zhao, Acting Consul General of the Chinese Consulate General in New York, will visit Cincinnati to explore opportunities for further partnership and collaboration with the GCCCEA, the CVB and the City of Cincinnati. Dr. Zhao's primary responsibilities include assisting and protecting the Chinese citizens in his consular districts, which include Ohio and nine other states, as well as facilitating trade and friendship between the U.S. and Chinese governments.

Dr. Zhao’s visit reflects the importance of the Chinese community in the Cincinnati region and the increased activity surrounding multicultural relations. Data shows that the Asian American population in the U.S. will increase by more than 30 percent by 2020, and that domestic travel spending by Asian Americans accounts for more than $62 billion annually.

“There is a growing Chinese American population in the U.S. and the Cincinnati region, and we know that the future traveler will be a reflection of the changing demographics of our country,” said Jason Dunn, vice president of multicultural sales and community development at the Cincinnati USA CVB. “It is our goal to highlight the richness of the various cultures in the Cincinnati region, and with this event, and others moving forward, there’s an opportunity to prove that Cincinnati is a prepared and welcoming destination as we move into the future.”