Chinese Mooncake Festival keeps growing

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Chinese Mooncake Festival co-chair Peter Kirkwood is convinced the Carmel event’s popularity is growing.

He gauges it by the number of free mooncakes, a Chinese bakery item, are distributed.

“Last year, we had more mooncakes than we had any previous year and they went faster than any previous year. We gave away all 1,500 mooncakes. This year, we are ordering 2,000,” Kirkwood said. “It’s while supplies last, so people can reserve the mooncakes if you register (for a free ticket) on Eventbrite.”

The sixth festival is set from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at the Indiana Design Center, 200 S. Range Line Rd. The event is held in conduction with the Carmel Arts & Design District Gallery Walk.

The festival is presented by the Carmel-Xiangyang Sister City Committee and IU Health North Hospital.

Carmel resident Ming Ye, who was born in China and has been in the U.S. since 1996, joins Fishers resident Kirkwood as a co-chair for the second consecutive year. Prior to that, Sandra Long served as the festival’s chair.

Kirkwood is one of the founders of the Sister City Committee. As an international affairs specialist, Kirkwood got called in by the City of Carmel to advise the committee.

“I’ve been engaged with the program since the beginning,” said Kirkwood, protocol officer for The International Center. “The mission of the Sister City Committee is to foster cooperation between the cities of Carmel and Xiangyang. The Mooncake Festival, in addition to be a celebration of traditional Chinese culture, gave us an opportunity to engage the greater Carmel community as well as the Chinese members who live in Carmel.”

The festival starts with a parade, followed by music and dance.

Ching Li serves as event director. Many groups help as well, including Indianapolis Chinese Community Center Inc., members.

“We want to promote the culture, not just to the second generation of the Chinese immigrants, but we want to promote it to the whole community,” Ye said. “We enjoy sharing everything.”

Ye said the Mooncake Festival is known in China as the Mid-Autumn Festival. The concept is similar to Thanksgiving.

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