Taiwanese American Cultural Festival, SF


the festival in 2008Wow. It’s been a year.

At this time last year, I was visiting the Bay Area and interviewing with Oakland Teaching Fellows. It’s amazing to think how quickly life moves by. The week I was visiting also happened to be Taiwanese American heritage week, and I got to be here for part of the Taiwanese American Cultural Festival in SF. The post from last year can be viewed here.

Even though I knew that the Taiwanese American Cultural Festival existed because Ho Chie had asked me to design timeline banners for an exhibit in the festival, I still didn’t quite know the scale of the event until I experienced it firsthand. Taiwanese American performers, booths, tents, and food vendors take over Union Square, San Francisco, a popular destination right in the middle of a shopping area that’s constantly filled to the brim with tourists.

This year, I was an official photographer for the event, so I was there from 10am to 6pm. And it still blows my mind that there can be this much visibility and legitimacy attributed to Taiwanese American culture and identity out here in San Francisco.


Perfect illustration: Taiwanese culture looming large with Macy’s in the background, and a glimpse of my banners revived from last year, hanging in the tent.


The second most powerful man in San Francisco: David Chiu, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Chiu declared his pride in being Taiwanese American, and he presented the festival a proclamation on behalf of the City of San Francisco. For more on David Chiu and his power in SF, check out this article, “Is David Chiu Mayor?” With Mayor Gavin Newsom traveling so much to cities like DC and Chicago, “right now, it feels like David Chiu might as well be the Mayor.


Shawna Yang Ryan, author of Water Ghosts is spotted and flagged down for a book signing in the Taiwanese American 2nd generation tent.


Ladies of the Taiwan Tea tent, brewing oolong and jasmine for the crowds.


Hard at work in the food tent: bah tzang, tea eggs, mochi, and more.


Gorgeous orchid show, part of the “Green Taiwan” theme of the festival. Orchids are my absolute favorite, and I almost bought one, but I let the opportunity slide by, and they quickly sold out.


Students from South Bay performed in various configurations and styles. The kids from the brand new Taiwan Center in San Jose were especially adorable.


Young Lee! Broadcaster Band makes its second annual appearance at the festival. Young gave a very amusing interview with Taiwanese American NBC reporter Stephanie Chuang.

Other performers of the day, not pictured: singer-songwriter Alice Tong (featured here previously), cellist Stephanie Lai, rock band Johnny Hi-Fi, singer-songwriter Jenton Lee, and more!


And just to top things off, a cute dancing kid holding a yang-le-duo yogurt drink in his hand. I LOVED drinking those things when I was little!

For a full overview of the event, visit the SF Taiwanese American Cultural Festival website.