Chinatown Moon Festival: Cakes, Tunes, Joy

Join the jubilant nighttime party at the historic Central Plaza.

You're off the hook, there's no pressure, and absolutely no expectations, so relax: The moon does not expect a gift from you on the occasion of its annual autumn celebration.

What would be lovely, however, is if you'd join with other residents of this planet, at least a sizable handful, anyway, to ponder the loveliness of our lunar satellite, its mystery and magic, and the beautiful moon-related traditions that stretch back centuries.

That can be done, with verve, style, sound, and sweets, at Chinatown's historic Central and West Plazas on Saturday, Sept. 17. It's the 78th annual Chinatown Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, and, as is longstanding custom, many visitors will spend a good portion of their visit to the lantern-laden area gazing up.

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But they won't be solely admiring the plazas' famous illumination sources (neon and lanterns, both); they'll be looking at the harvest moon through on-site telescopes provided by Griffith Observatory.

Other terrestrial to-dos include an LA Weekly Live Music Stage (which is plum-full of rocking acts for the evening), and cooking demos, and eating showdowns, and the all-important devouring of moon cakes, the ultimate September sweet.

Samples of the quintessential falltime cakes shall be provided of this delight, so don't fill up at the gourmet food trucks (though, you know, take in the sustenance you require).

And best visit the photo booth, should you want to record your post-cake grin for posterity. 

Start time? It's 5 o'clock, which isn't a prime moon hour, but maybe you should get there then, to find your meditative moon-loving brain space. (Lunar admiration is some deep business, when you think about.)

End time? It all wraps at 11, though, spoiler alert, the moon'll stick around, doing what it does so well. (Orbiting us, and very nicely, too.)

Cost? It's free to fest it up. Free as spying the moon any ol' time it is up overhead. 

So cheers to you, dear harvest moon, and all of the earth-bound bashes you so spectacularly inspire, year after year after century after eon.

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