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Moon Festival to unite all cultures in Flushing

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After living for 15 years in Flushing, Taiwanese immigrant Fred Fu decided the area’s vast collection of cultures deserved an opportunity to celebrate their diversity.

“Flushing is like the diamond on the crown of Queens,” Fu said. “So I think, why not put all the interesting events in a wonderful festival?”

Fu, the president of the Flushing Chinese Business Association, is the organizer of the First International Moon Festival, a two-day event that will stir the streets of Flushing with a street fair, parade, performances and a fireworks display in the end of September.

The lunar festival always occurs on the night of the “biggest full moon in the whole year,” Fu said, and traditionally serves as an occasion for families in China and Korea to get together with food and celebration.

But the festival’s premise of uniting people assumes a new meaning in America, where Fu believes all ethnic groups come together “like a big family.”

“I want this night — everybody together — to celebrate everybody in Flushing,” he said.

The 48-year-old businessman decided to sponsor a moon festival in Flushing as a way to celebrate the common dream that brought immigrants to the United States in the first place.

“America gives all the new immigrants a good chance to build their immigrant dream, to be American,” Fu said. “Everyone comes from a different country, but we know we’re American, so we celebrate in the moon festival.”

Although the moon festival is “not so big” in Asia — a less boisterous celebration than the Lunar New Year in late January — Fu anticipates the American version will be far more elaborate than its observance overseas.

“Nobody celebrates the moon festival like this time,” Fu said.

The festival will kick off with a street fair in the parking lot of the Flushing Mall at the corner of Prince Street and 39th Avenue on Saturday, Sept. 29, and Sunday, Sept. 30, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

On Sept. 30, another street fair will be held at Kissena Boulevard between Main Street and Sanford Street from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

An Asian Documentary Film Festival is scheduled at the Flushing Library from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., after which a lantern parade will proceed along Main Street for an hour starting at 7 p.m.

A multicultural performance at the Botanical Garde at 8 p.m. will be topped off with a fireworks display from Kissena Corridor Park at 9:30 p.m.

Fu hopes to see the festival expand to other cities in future years and become as ingrained in American culture as Christmas, which he noted also originated overseas.

“New York always spreads different cultures of the world,” Fu said. “Why not this time from Flushing?”

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.

Posted 7:22 pm, October 10, 2011
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