Truth, Inspiration, Hope.

NY: Moon Festival Draws Tens of Thousands to Traditional Autumn Event

Published: September 20, 2023
A dragon dance at the Moon Festival at New Century in the Town of Deerpark, N.Y., on Sept. 16, 2023. (Image: Mark Zou/The Epoch Times)

The 8th annual Moon Festival took place on Sept. 16 and 17 at New Century Films in the town of Deerpark, upstate New York, attracting an estimated 20,000 people to what has become the tristate area’s largest multicultural event. 

Last year, the festival attracted over 15,000 visitors and 140 local vendors during the two days of festivities which introduced locals to ancient traditions, delicious food, and traditional Chinese performances and culture.

In addition to the 20,000 festivalgoers, more than 200 local vendors also participated in the event. 

Young and old had the opportunity to connect with each other and the local community through music, authentic cuisine from different regions, dragon and lion dances, fun children’s activities, lantern crafting, and of course, delicious mooncakes. 

New Century hosted the event on its 40-acre property, the tristate area’s premier venue for fairs, festivals and a number of other activities. 

Event coordinator Jin Pang told the Epoch Times, “The Moon festival is a time when families and friends come together in China. We want to share traditional Chinese festivity with everyone through this unique event, and it was great to see so many families join us and have a great time.”

The Moon festival, more closely translated as the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節), is one of the major traditional Chinese festival seasons. It falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month each year, which is typically in September or October of the Western calendar. This year, the full moon — and hence the proper date of the festival — is Sept. 29.

Pang said that this year’s festival attracted more people and vendors than ever before. 

The festival grounds were adorned by hanging boards displaying quotes from prominent figures.

One featured a quote by American poet Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., which read, “Where we love is our home—home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”

One festival goer told The Epoch Times, “I like these quotes about families and good messages such as kindness. When my baby son is a little older, I’d like to bring him back here because I want him to know kindness.”

The Moon Festival in the Town of Deerpark, N.Y., on Sept. 16, 2023. (Image: Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)

Food and fest

“We are on a scouting mission for food. We are going to hit all the vendors,” one festival goer, Ms. Kenny, told The Epoch Times.

Of the close to 240 vendors, 40 of them sold an array of both Asian and Western cuisines. 

Leena Clausell said that after just 10 minutes on the fairgrounds she had the opportunity to indulge in a scallion pancake, a grilled pork chop and some specialty sausage.

Another participant, who hailed from as far away as Florida, said, “This is great! I grew up in Queens, so having access to wonderful Asian food is always something that I look forward to.”

Tea was the festival favorite for Jonathan Jensen from Milford, Pennsylvania, who said he discovered the benefits of loose tea leaves.

“I learned that you can use used tea leaves to clean things, and once you dry them, you can put them in your pillow as aromatherapy—I’ve really open a door here,” Jensen said.

The Moon Festival in the Town of Deerpark, N.Y., on Sept. 16, 2023. (Image: Mark Zou/The Epoch Times)

Dazzling performances

Traditional Chinese performances were a major feature of the festivities that played out on the center stage, including dragon dances, classical Chinese dance, as well as demonstrations of the erhu, known as the Chinese violin.

From nearby Middletown, performers from Fei Tian College and the Northern Academy of Arts dazzled onlookers.

A Middletown resident, Cathay Reed, said that she found the performances calm and peaceful.

“I just loved them all. The music was so soothing, and the costumes were so beautiful,” she said.

A children’s dance at the Moon Festival at New Century in the Town of Deerpark, N.Y., on Sept. 16, 2023. (Image: Mark Zou/The Epoch Times)

Local political figures were spotted on the fairgrounds as well, with Orange County District Attorney David Hoover and his wife saying that they enjoyed the atmosphere.

Mrs. Hoover said, “This is a beautiful day in the Town of Deerpark. It is wonderful to see such a large festival and so many people from all walks of life coming here to learn about the culture and experience while also getting to meet their neighbors.”

“It is always good to learn a little bit about new cultures and different things,” her husband added.

While not in attendance, several other local politicians, including state Sen. James Skoufis, Assemblyman Karl Brabenec, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, and others, all issued proclamations recognizing the event.