ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Taking place this weekend — it’s Rochester’s first-ever Harvest Moon Festival!

The event is being organized by the Rochester chapter of APAPA–the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs non-profit. Chairman John Ra tells News 8’s Mikhaela Singleton the goal is to bring more Asian representation to all of the fun happening in Rochester and foster a better understanding of our Asian neighbors.

“I’ve always wanted to have an Asian celebration here in Rochester and there’s lots of festivals here, and I wanted to get our Asian community together so we could have a nice celebration like everyone else,” he says.

2023 Harvest Moon Festival FREE tickets here

Celebrating the Harvest Moon is similar to Thanksgiving for eastern and southeastern Asian cultures, with different traditions for every country.

“I remember as a child, it’s always a time for family to get together, to eat together, and back in the day, it’s about harvesting crops in the Fall to share together,” John explains.

“We want to open this up to everyone and be as diverse as possible,” he continues.

The 2023 Harvest Moon Festival will feature cultural foods and performances from local Asian heritage groups.

APAPA Director of Communications and John Ra’s daughter, Hailey Ra, says she will also be performing with a group of martial artists from Agape Black Belt Center.

“I’ve grown up here, I’ve gone to school here, and I definitely didn’t see that much Asian representation–especially going into high school. It was definitely isolating, but with this event, I’m super excited, because I think it’s an awesome opportunity to increase our visibility,” says Hailey.

The festival will be held Saturday, September 23 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the parking lot of the Pittsford Flour Mill and Grain Tower.