Leaves are beginning to fall, but Chinatown is blooming. The neighborhood’s streets will come alive this Saturday, Sept. 29 as Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center hosts the inaugural Experience Chinatown festival. “Most people come to Chinatown, who aren’t necessarily Asian, they come here for food,” said Jean Quintal, special events manager at BCNC. “But we want Chinatown to be known for the cultural aspects and arts.”
Quintal wants the festival to become a destination event, something people from outside the city would travel to attend. BCNC organizers also hope to weave the unique threads of Chinatown’s community — longtime residents, recent immigrants and young Asian students who frequent the neighborhood’s tea shops — into a celebration that unites them. Cynthia Woo, director of Pao Arts Center says, “There is a diverse group of people that use this geographic area but also connect to the idea of Chinatown as a place that reminds them of home.”
The festival, which spans four hours and three venues, boasts a variety of performances including Chinese lion dancing, Taiko drumming, acrobatics and routines from local dance crews. Many offer interactive components, from workshops teaching children traditional Asian dances to Bollywood-inspired fitness classes. “It is the largest event that the Pao Arts Center has undertaken,” says Joann Yung, associate director of development at BCNC. “But I think we’re ready.”
BCNC hosted the inaugural Experience Chinatown festival on Sat. Sept. 29, 11 am-3 pm and After Dark 7 pm-11 pm at the Pao Arts Center, One Greenway Park and the Rose Kennedy Greenway – Chinatown Park. Video: Jenni Todd.