Chinese Association of Monterey Bay to Host 4th Annual Chinese Cultural Festival – Monterey Herald

MONTEREY — The Chinese Association of Monterey Bay says it will champion inclusion, collaboration and awareness next month as the organization commemorates its fourth annual Chinese Cultural Festival.

For the first time since 2019, this year’s festival will take place on Sunday, October 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Custom House Plaza Monterey. It is a local opportunity to promote greater appreciation of Chinese culture and heritage, the event organizers said, adding that the festival aims to maintain diversity and foster ties between cultural groups in China. the region.

“It’s an important opportunity for reunion within the Chinese community because we have different people of mixed ancestry. But it’s also an opportunity… to welcome different ethnic groups and bond,” said Yong-Ling Beiman, a member of the Chinese Association of Monterey Bay. “It’s a gathering of old and new friends, and an experience in which people can explore connections and continuities through culture, artistic creation and entertainment.”

Free to the public, the October festival will highlight authentic Chinese art, food, games, cultural displays and folk dances. The Chinese Association of Monterey Bay has also invited local Japanese and Korean organizations — as well as the Pacific Grove Adult Education Center — to perform in what it hopes will be a living example of cross-cultural friendship.

“Our goal is to promote harmonious diversity,” Beiman said.

The Chinese Cultural Festival was established in 2017 to ensure that the presence of the local Chinese community is not only widely known but understood, said Richard Zhang, president of the Chinese Association of Monterey Bay. Zhang, who has been with the association since its inception more than eight years ago, said raising awareness has always been central to the festival’s purpose.

The Chinese community has deep roots in Monterey Bay. In 1851, a group of Chinese families immigrated to the California coast and established a fishing village at Point Alones, where the Hopkins Marine Station is located today. It was the first and largest family-run Chinese community in the United States at the time, and is credited with pioneering the Monterey Bay commercial fishing industry. Eventually, families dispersed throughout the area when the village of Point Alones mysteriously caught fire in 1906.

Reconciling historic ties with current members of the community, the Chinese Association of Monterey Bay recognizes next month’s festival as a chance to come together and honor culture collectively.

Embracing the local Chinese community is particularly salient on the Monterey Peninsula as the dust continues to settle since the Pacific Grove Lantern Festival ended earlier this year. Disbanded after numerous complaints about how it appropriated Chinese culture, the Lantern Festival prompted city officials to issue an apology for a history of structural racism and discrimination against Chinese immigrants in Pacific Grove.

Asked about holding this year’s Chinese Cultural Festival following the dissolution of the Lantern Festival, Zhang assured that the two events “are completely separate” and noted that the Chinese Association of Monterey Bay is “just trying to to bring people together to show Chinese culture and build good relations with the community.

Echoing Zhang’s desire to stay positive, Beiman said “for this event, the performances will be authentic.”

“The Chinese performances will be presented by local Chinese. Japanese performances will be staged by local Japanese people. There will be no appropriation of culture,” she continued. “We would like to look at this issue in a positive direction. We want to demonstrate that we live in a marvelous region… where different ethnic groups live in harmony. This demonstrates DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion). »

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