In 1994, the Wisconsin Organization for Asian Americans announced the creation of Asian Moon Festival. Named after the festival in Amy Tan’s children’s book, The Moon Lady, the multi-day celebration took place at the north end of the Henry Maier Festival Grounds and offered visitors the opportunity to experience a variety of Asian cultures through music performances, martial arts, and cuisine. Indeed, food often proved to be the event’s most popular attraction over the festival’s eleven-year run. Organizers cancelled the 2006 festival due to a shortage of funding and a lack of volunteers. The following year, the same organizers reestablished the event as the short-lived Silver City Asian Festival.
- ^ Joseph A. Rodriguez, Bootstrap New Urbanism: Design, Race, and Redevelopment in Milwaukee (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014), 90-97; “Asian Americans Plan Fall Festival,” The Milwaukee Journal, June 10, 1994, accessed February 10, 2015, http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=d3EaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ySwEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5033%2C1570883/ Organizers planned the original festival to coincide with Al’s Run in hopes that participants in that event, which ended at the lakefront, would attend the festival. According to Kathy Khang and Daynel L. Hooker, “Festivals Set Attendance Mark,” The Milwaukee Sentinel, September 26, 1994, accessed March 20, 2015, http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1368&dat=19940926&id=FppQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=FBMEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3435,8250841, 33,000 attended the festival on Sunday of 1994 (the inaugural year) and 15,000 participated in Al’s Run. For a recent overview of Asians in Milwaukee, see Joseph A Rodriguez and Mark Shelley, “Latinos and Asians in Milwaukee,” in Perspectives on Milwaukee’s Past, ed. Margo Anderson and Victor Greene (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2009), 162-164, 178-194.
- ^ Billy Kurtz, “Asian Festival Treats Taste Buds,” The Milwaukee Sentinel, September 24, 1994, accessed March 15, 2015, http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1368&dat=19940924&id=FZpQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=FBMEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2626,8114693. Amy Tan is also author of The Joy Luck Club (1989). Up to fourteen different Asian cultures were represented at the celebration over the years, including Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Malaysian, Pakistani, Taiwanese, Thai, and others (see Jackie Loohauis, “Asian Moon Hoping for Sunny Skies,” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 16, 1995, accessed February 15, 2015, http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1683&dat=19950616&id=iWsaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Bi0EAAAAIBAJ&pg=4279,202002). The festival expanded in subsequent years and used a greater area of the grounds.
- ^ Billy Kurtz, “Asian Festival Treats Taste Buds”; Gina Zinuticz, “Asian Moon Praised,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 23, 1995, accessed March 1, 2015, http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1683&dat=19950623&id=qzUqAAAAIBAJ&sjid=-ywEAAAAIBAJ&pg=4067,2878902.
- ^ “District Planned One-Day festival,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, September 4, 2007, accessed March 1, 2015, http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1683&dat=20070904&id=F8woAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ukUEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3484,1922028. This was according to Debbie Tewes, who served as executive director of the festival. It is claimed here that the festival’s organization ceased to function in 2005.
- ^ Press Release, “Announcing the 2nd Annual Asian Fest,” Silver City Main Street, August 6st [sic], 2008, last accessed May 4, 2017.
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The festival was not named after the festival in Amy Tan’s book. Her book came out in 1995. Mid-autumn festivals have a long history in China and we just liked the moon symbolism.
The festival was cancelled because volunteers were discouraged due to a persistent lack of funding and sponsors. The Summerfest financial model is predicated on selling a lot of beer; Milwaukeeans like to drink beer at their festivals but turns out not so much with Asian food.
One of the reasons for starting the festival was trying to counter anti-Asian sentiment in connection with the VIncent Chin incident in Detroit and Konerak Sinthasompone in Milwaukee.
A different set of organizers started the Silver City Asian Festival, hoping to capitalize on the success of Asian Moon Festival.