Autumn Moon Festival and a farmers market

On Sunday, September 20, 2009, I returned to the city, again by train (though this time by BART). Though my main goal was a festival in Chinatown, I first stopped off at the city's main public library (by the civic center). I figured, if I can't find the books I want at an independent bookstore, and my local county library system doesn't have them, then at least I can get them from another county. Indeed, the San Francisco public library system seems to have a more extensive collection than San Mateo. At the library, I picked up a library card (yes, California residents outside the city can get a card), and checked out a number of books.

I left the library with my now-heavier backpack and immediately noticed a bunch of stands--I stumbled upon the "Heart of the City" farmers market (by the Civic Center). Though I didn't want anything, I knew I'd regret it if I didn't browse to see what it had. It's a large market, with many vegetable and fruit vendors--certainly more such vendors and with a wider variety than San Mateo's market. For instance, there were more types of apples and eggplants, plus date vendors with many types (San Mateo usually only has one date stand, which sells one type of date), plus many items that don't normally appear at my local market such as Thai chilies. The most interesting aspect of this market is that there were practically no prepared/cooked foods, not even a bakery.

Finally, my curiosity satisfied, I hiked to Chinatown for its Autumn Moon festival. It was a large, typical street festival. As such, it had the usual wide assortment of booths: community groups and government agencies doing outreach to this community, business sponsors (banks, insurance companies, Chinese magazines, etc.), art, crafts, knickknacks and low-end accessories (many Chinese), Chinese home decorations, DVDs, plants, and more. Some booths even sold electronic goods such as rice cookers. Incidentally, Safeway set up a large pavilion to give out free samples of items they carry. You should've seen the line for the ice cream bars.

Also, I was surprised to see a lot pre-packaged food for sale. Sure, I expected many booths selling high-end mooncakes in fancy boxes (tis the season), but there were many more baked goods and other packaged foods (e.g., noodles, tea leaves) and bottled drinks (e.g., green tea, aloe drinks) than I thought there'd be. In contrast, I was disappointed to find only two fresh food stands. (I guess being in Chinatown means there's food everywhere already.)

I counted four stages of entertainment, presenting (as least when I walked by): a solo of a traditional Chinese musical instrument, a Chinese opera, a Chinese orchestra, and something I don't know what was happening (there was talking, but it wasn't in English). There was also a small, decent photography exhibit, displaying photos of China and of California.

I then hiked to the Marina district to see a film at the Iranian film festival. An under-promoted festival, it only attracted members of the expatriate community--as I waited in line, I didn't hear any English. Indeed, judging by when people laughed, most weren't reading the English subtitles. Incidentally, there weren't more than four dozen people in attendance. The screening was held in a lecture hall on the Art Institute of San Francisco's campus. Though the room had a modest screen, it at least had comfortable chairs, and, as I discovered when I left, the campus has great views of San Francisco.

I took pictures of the festival and from the Art Institute.

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