Dragon races and moon cakes this weekend in San Francisco

On September 23 and 24, two free Chinese cultural festivals take place in and around San Francisco.

The Autumn Moon Festival Street Fair in Chinatown will celebrate the lunar calendar holiday. Grant Avenue will become a pedestrian-only bazaar, and festival-goers will find food (including the festival specialty, moon cakes), crafts, and music and dance. Entry is free, and events run from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on both days.

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Over on Treasure Island (between the two spans of the Bay Bridge), the Dragon Boat Festival will feature 100 dragon-boat teams racing a 500-meter course. The festival also includes music and dance, children's activities, and food. The races start at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday and 9:00 a.m. on Sunday. There are free shuttles between San Francisco's Chinatown and Treasure Island as well as free parking.

And as long as we're on the subject of San Francisco's Chinatown, I've been meaning to write up something about its summer Night Market Fair, which takes place on Saturday nights through October 28. I keep meaning to visit and then write about it, but it hasn't happened yet, and the summer is almost over, so I'm passing along this information though I can't lend any personal insight. What I can tell you (from reading the website) is that the night market seeks to evoke Hong Kong with huge crowds, enthusiastic commerce, and cultural performances. There aren't very many other places around North America to experience a Chinatown night market; in fact, the only other city I found with an annual one is Vancouver.

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