Neon and Sky: Chinatown Moon Festival | NBC Southern California

Neon and Sky: Chinatown Moon Festival

The Mid-Autumn Moon Celebration marks its 76th year.

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    Chinatown hosts the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival on Saturday, Sept. 13. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

    The moon, it may not surprise you to learn, has kept our home planet company for some time now. A few years, give or take? We'll leave it at that, but you might want to throw a lengthy string of zeroes on the end of that summary, in your own mind, for accuracy's sake.

    And we've seen the moon framed by cliffs, by trees, by mountains, and, very recently, light, and even more recently than that, neon light. It's a startling contrast, but one only a handful of places do rather well. We're lucky enough to have such a place in Southern Cal, and that it has been hosting a Mid-Autumn Moon Festival for 76 years? Nice. Chinatown has long admired that neon-meets-moon pairing.

    The Historic Plaza off Broadway shall again on Saturday, Sept. 13 during the Moon Festival. Music played before your eyes -- or ears, rather -- and food trucks shall festoon the parts lacking in neon or moon, and artists shall be engaging in calligraphy demos, dough sculpting, and fruit carving. A culinary stage will be in full pan-and-pot swing, with a mooncake sampling and mooncake-eating competitions taking centerstage.

    Magicians and storytellers shall be plying their craft. Truly, if the moon has any human emissaries on earth, wouldn't magicians and storytellers be among our lunar satellite's special favorites? 

    And lest everything grows too terrestrial, Anthony Cook of Griffith Observatory will have telescopes on hand for moon-peeping. What's your favorite sea up there? The Sea of Tranquility? Yep.

    Cost for all of this? Free, at least the getting-in-and-telescope-ing part (and the listening and the watching-of-demos, too). Want a brew or something of sustenance? Bring dough. That's cash, not the kind of dough that's set to be sculpted during the event.

    Just be sure to find the perfect juxtaposition of moon and neon somewhere around the plaza. That's a comparison that has only been around for, well, a few decades. And, nope, you don't need to add a bunch of zeroes onto the end of that one: Neon is still new, at least compared to that other bright object above our heads.

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