All of Chinatown comes together for what organizer Kathryn Luu says is the biggest festival the community has ever seen
By Liam Newbigging | August 16, 2023
After last year’s successful Mid-Autumn Festival saw community vendors and food trucks sell out of their offerings, the Chinatown Business Association will bring another festival to the city. The new Chinatown Summer Festival, taking place on August 20, is just one part of a collective initiative from businesses in the area to invigorate a culturally rich part of the city.
The previous year’s successful Mid-Autumn Festival brought in more than 400 people. Additionally, Van Loc Vietnamese Subs has been hosting car shows, paint nights and other events, the historic Hull Block’s rooftop is being used for events, and the Summer Festival promises to be more than quadruple the size of last autumn’s celebration.
Kathryn Luu is the woman behind the event as well as last year’s Mid-Autumn Festival. She says the goal is to “create the vibrancy we are lacking in Chinatown.” Getting more foot traffic into the community will help more than 120 businesses that populate the area get back into a steady rhythm after some challenging years over the pandemic.
“A lot of us are still recovering from that. I think it’s just everywhere, too. It’s not just in Chinatown, everywhere was kind of struggling,” says Luu.
“[The festival] can serve as a kind of a platform to showcase our cultures and traditions and products. It can foster a sense of pride and unity for our community.”
For the festival, all of Chinatown’s 98 Street will be closed off and lined with more than 50 vendors, along with food trucks and performance areas for dancers and musicians. There will also be the dragon and lion dances from Hong De Canada.
Luu is excited to see the community come together, and even though she says this festival is “the biggest that Chinatown has ever seen,” she is determined to keep the momentum going.