2016 Tacoma Moon Festival

Project Background and Description

Students in the Chinese Language and Culture courses routinely seek opportunities outside of the classroom to practice the language they have been studying as well to experience the culture and customs they are learning. Unfortunately, due to the 1885 “Tacoma Method,” the City still has an underrepresented Chinese community. The annual Tacoma Moon Festival, however, provides an event in which students can participate, both as volunteers and festival goers, to learn about Tacoma’s past history, current reconciliation effort (Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation), and Chinese and other Asian cultures. Students can taste moon cakes and zongzi (Chinese Tamale), experience a teahouse while listening to live Beijing opera performances, and learn to paint a paper fan and try on a traditional banquet outfit. Volunteers have the opportunity to meet and work alongside other volunteers of Chinese descent, students and teachers in other Chinese classes as well as international students, community leaders and local residents.

What you want to read about before you go:

To help each participant understand the complexity of the experience and put it in a larger context, please read the following:
    The Tacoma Method
·    Request for Reconciliation (1991)
·    City Council Resolution (1993)
·    The Chinese Reconciliation Park
·    Park History in Chinese
·    Chinese Moon Festival Traditions
·    The Moon Festival and Other Vietnamese Traditions

Relate, engage, go above and beyond:

·    Not just volunteer but participate in as many activities as possible
·    Try something different and new
·    Go out of your way to interact with the people you’re serving, other volunteers, and staff people
·    If you finish the task you came to do, ask for another project that could use your help or just step in and volunteer at another activity tent

Remember to take notes and share:

You are encouraged to share the moments, your thoughts and experiences on the festival day and later. We will have two post-event meetings to discuss and share your experiences.

·    Take notes (on your phones, notecards, journals, etc.)
·    Take photos
·    Post on Social Media
·    Tell a friend or a family member
·    Write in your journal
·    Post on Social Media
·    Enter the photo contest Instagram #TacomaMoonFestival
·    Attend one of the post-event sessions: September 28 (5:00-6:00 pm) and October 3 (7:00-8:00 pm)
Room TBA

How can participants connect and share:

·    Facebook Group  [UPS_MoonFestival_2016] (closed group)
·    WeChat Connection (closed group)
·    Instagram #TacomaMoonFestival
·    UPS Chinese Program FB
·    Tacoma Moon Festival FB

What you might like to reflect on?

·    What has been rewarding or disappointing about this experience?
·    What do you bring to this site/event? As in what can you connect this site/event with from your past, heritage, previous courses or other aspect of your person?
·    What is one idea/takeaway from this event?
·    Why is this an important event to support?
·    Why is it important to have the Chinese Reconciliation Park?​

Logistics (volunteer schedule; ride sharing)

2016 Festival sign up for one or more of the volunteer shifts on the event date (9/24)
·   Morning Set up 9 – 12:00 (1-2 drivers; 6-8 volunteers)
·   Afternoon 12:00 – 4:00 (drivers; volunteers)
·   Afternoon 3:00 – 7:00 (drivers; volunteers)
·   Evening Tear down 6:00 – 8:00 (drivers; volunteers)

Project Goals

·    To provide opportunities for students of Chinese to practice and use what they have learned in the classroom
·    To raise students’ awareness and understanding of a culture that many have not been exposed to outside of the classroom
·    To engage students in not just new information and ideas but, through volunteerism and physical labors (loading and unloading, set up and tear down for the events), to exercise their minds as well as their bodies
·    To instill interest and motivation in learners of a difficult Asian language that requires constant effort and perseverance
·    To provide an informal but personal immersion learning experience that could complement the formal classroom study
·    To connect students to the community, and to allow them to network with a diverse group of organizations and businesses
·    To learn about the City’s past history, its continuing reconciliation effort and how individuals can contribute to it
·    To place students in volunteer positions where they may learn new skills and can build camaraderie among themselves

for 2016 Project Participation

·    Participate in one of the pre-event trainings, scheduled on September 16 (4:00-5:00pm or 5:00-6:00pm)*
·    Be a current or past student in a Chinese language and culture course OR have other Chinese/Asia-related experience and/or heritage background
·    Read articles on the Tacoma Method and Chinese Festivals (to be distributed and available online on program website)
·    Participate in the Tacoma Moon Festival as a volunteer or a festival goer
·    Attend one of the post-event reflection sessions, scheduled on September 28 (5:00-6:00 pm) and October 3 (7:00-8:00 pm)
* If scheduling conflicts do not permit participation of the post-festival info session, interested students should contact Prof. Perry to make arrangements. Participation would still be possible if students go through training materials posted below. 

Project Faculty and Student Volunteer Leaders/Coordinators

Chinese Language and Culture Faculty:
Prof. Mengjun Li | Prof. Lotus Perry | Assistant Teacher Tina Yu
Experiential Learning Program
2016 Assistant:
Mark Gilbert
2016 Student Leaders:
Rachel Anderson | Trini Mak | Tashiro Newsum | Sarah Putulin

19 thoughts on “2016 Tacoma Moon Festival

  1. It was really fun! I’m glad we have this festival cuz it’s cool to see the Tacoma community every once in a while. The board member was not so nice though. :-/ but riding the rickshaw was cool. Working the parking lot was kinda stressful.

  2. It was a great event. I wouldn’t change much, I had fun and everyone there was engaged and happy. 很開心!

  3. One thing that struck me about this event was the cross-cultural comradery. People were speaking in English and Chinese all around. Little kids asking questions about what something meant, and their parents learning something new too. Especially at the activity tables, everyone was very curious about the symbolism and wanted to do things right. It was amazing just how many people were there, and how many kids. Listening to the conversations (sometimes switching between languages mid-sentence), it was very clear that, even if it is not big, the community surrounding the festival in Tacoma is very strong and well-knit.

  4. I think hosting the festival in the Chinese Reconciliation Park was a great spot, because of its beautiful scenery, as well as historical significance. The festival attracted lots of people, who then learned about the moon festival as well as the “Tacoma Method” and its repercussions. I feel that everyone who went benefitted both from a fun, new experience, and from learning about past mistakes and how society can improve and heal in the future.

  5. The festival was a cool service, community and cultural opportunity that I wouldn’t have known about if not for APASU letting me know! It was a beautifully organized event that I was happy to help in anyway, it was great getting to talk to a PLU student whom brought the tea and hear a Tacoma native perspective and PLU & UPS interacting. I didnt celebrate the Moon Festival before but it was great getting to know more about this part of the chinese culture. It represents the resilience of the Chinese and Asian community of Tacoma and all those who continue to support the diversity and traditions.

  6. It was good to see an increase in attendance at the event, compared to previous years. However, it would be even better if the event was advertised more, because it seemed that many people there were unaware of the event, and just so happened to pass by. And in additon, there were some people who did not know the history of the moon festival (so, it would also be nice to have a tent or table that focuses on the history of the moon festival and the Chinese reconciliation park).

  7. I think that it is not only important to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in general but I think it is significant to celebrate it at the Chinese Reconciliation Park. It is important to recognize and remember the history behind the implementation of the park, and to move forward by coming together to celebrate an important Chinese holiday.

  8. This event felt like the perfect mixture of fun and significant cultural experience. I spoke to a lot of non-Chinese people from Tacoma and it seemed like many of them were honored to be able to participate in an event that is usually a more Chinese specific or insular experience. I also found that many people were surprised to learn about the history of Tacoma and the Chinese Reconciliation Park. This event drew attention, in a positive and inclusive way, to the continuing need to support the growing Chinese community in Tacoma.

  9. I thought this was a fantastic experience. Being a new comer to the area I was heisitant to participat in the festival however, i am glad that i did. When i arrived i felt imediatly welcomed by the comunity. I was very impressed by the many different performances and the inclusion of many different asian backrounds. I thought the experience was very rewarding because not only was i able to get a glimpse into the real tacoma comunity but, i also was able to give back in a fun and educational way.

  10. When I was volunteering, I helped set up and everything but actually left at 2:00pm when the festival officially started. When I was working out at the front there were a surprising amount of people who came to the reconciliation park who didn’t know that the festival was going on! I hope that they decided to go, and that in the future more people attend. I the pamphlets that were handed out in English/Chinese were super informative and educational, It’s so important to learn about what happened in Tacoma in the 1880’s, especially when you look around to see how it affected the Chinese population here. It was way cool to see a community come together from all over Tacoma and Seattle. Let’s see this get bigger and bigger each year It’s a wonderful event.

  11. The part about this experience that was most rewarding was making positive connections through work with people I did not previously know who were also volunteers. I was also very impressed with the amount of people who showed up to the festival.
    As an event, I was slightly disappointed in the communication hierarchy. Or maybe it just put me on edge not knowing what I was supposed to do 20 seconds before I needed to do it.

  12. I think it was so fun! It’s important to celebrate this in order to honor Chinese culture and teach others about it. It was interesting learning more about my own culture, since I grew up without learning about it at all.

  13. This event is important because it brings people of the community together. After the 1885 act, it’s important to learn from the past and move forward as a community. It was nice meeting people from many different backgrounds. I think volunteering was fulfilling because I believe it is important to support cultural events and teach people about important history.

  14. I thought it was really cool to help set up and see the different aspects of the culture, as well as learning about the culture as well. I think it is really incredible that so much effort is put forth to do this and keep Chinese culture in Tacoma.

    I connected with the tradition of the event, my family comes together every 4 years to see each other, it’s a way to keep the family close and learn from the heritage of our family, and I see that in this event, every person has their own Chinese heritage and it’s important to keep doing it year after year.

    That Chinese culture is very important in the Tacoma area.

    Because it’s a way for the people that have had families in this area for a long time to be able to share their history and come together and be proud of their heritage.

    Because it is a symbol of history that Tacoma should be proud of, it’s a big part of Tacoma history and important to Chinese culture.

  15. While I personally very much enjoyed the experience of participating in this event, I think what was most striking and meaningful to me was seeing the participation of members of the Tacoma community. Given the little known history of the Chinese community in Tacoma, as well as the small size of it today, I think that events such as this are very important. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to have been part of the experience. I also do not have very many opportunities to interact with community members and it was a great opportunity to come out and celebrate the festival together.

    Additionally, apart from the Reconciliation Park’s historical significance, it also a beautiful space that is well worth visiting simply to enjoy the views. Throughout the day I was struck by how well framed the land is by the Sound.

  16. The event unified the local community, as it piqued the interest of an audience with diverse backgrounds (e.g ages, cultures, ethnicities, a spectrum ranging from people having had a lifelong connection to the festival to people who have heard of the event from the first time, etc.). Spending most of my time in parking duty was interesting to see how curious the Moon Festival first-timers were, often doing whatever it took to acquire parking space!

  17. I wasn’t there for very long, and I spent most of the time behind the info table. However I got to walk around and see everything and just sit in the park and enjoy and that was amazing.

  18. It’s great to get off campus and be able to connect with the locals. The demographic makeup of Tacoma is often not reflected on campus, so to be able to be a part of an event celebrating marginalized groups is truly a fulfilling experience. It’s rewarding to see the locals express genuine curiosity and enthusiasm towards the event, and it was also a lot of fun interacting with kids at the costume booth.

  19. The Moon Festival was great fun! I attended as a volunteer, and unfortunately spent most of the time in one spot so I did not get to see as much of the event as I’d have liked. Regardless, it was a very interesting experience, and I loved meeting locals and the other volunteers. I think any event that celebrates culture and community is important. I encourage anyone attending in the coming years to read up before hand and be actively engaged in the experience; a lot can be learned from this Festival, and I look forward to going again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *