By Romi Slowiak | MN Chinese Friendship Garden Society Board member | October 2022

Photo credit: MCFGS board members and attendees

If Mid-Autumn Festival is the penultimate family event in China, we here in Minnesota showed the world we also know how to build community guangxi under the full moon!

On Sept. 10, more than 2,000 people delighted in 42 different performances on Picnic Island at St. Paul's Lake Phalen Park.  Twenty organizations and individuals participated at our cultural booth where moon cakes were featured and sampled.


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People enjoyed the stage on Picnic Island so much there is a budding movement to have a permanent one built!

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Annie Yang hosts the mooncake booth.

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Romi Slowiak MCFGS Board member greeted visitors to the MCFGS booth, one of over 20.

The day began with a 5K run, a four-language poetry award ceremony and reading with $100 prizes and a tour of MIA with Asian Art Curator Liu Yang for winners.  There also was a display/demonstration of Chinese brush painting by Shen Yudong and his students. Fun activities ended with a world dance premiere at the Xiang Jiang Pavilion as the moon rose.

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 Dakota Over Age 18 Poetry Award winner Lisa Yankton, Dakota Language Poetry judge Carol Charging Thunder, and poetry contest curator and Romi Slowiak

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Laoshi (teacher) Shen Yudong (far left) in hat)

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In between those events, Chinese, Vietnamese, Hmong and Dakota artists drummed, sang, performed in musical and dance ensembles, soloed Chinese Opera arias, and showcased Chinese fashion.


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MCFGS Hmong Advisory Committee member Dona Yang & Chinese opera star.

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Hmong Qeej Performance Group

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 Chinese qipao models

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The Hmong fashion show took place on the walking path, with models appearing one by one from behind a colorful standing screen.

At 2 p.m., Bill Zajicek, president of the Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society and Christina Deng Morrison, president of Association of Sino-American Neocultural Exchange welcomed everyone.  The mayor’s proclamation of the day as Changsha Sister-City Day was read, followed by letters of praise from the Chinese Consulate, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Betty McCollum.


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Zajicek introduced Sen. Foung Hawj who spoke of the sacred origins of the park and its native people, and how all those that followed should also be honored and respected. Andy Rodriguez, director of Parks and Rec, followed and noted that the beautiful layout of the park attracted the most diverse visitors in the city.  Finally, Zajicek recognized the crucial support Hawj and Rodriguez offered and the special partnership the MCFGS has with Parks & Rec that makes this China Friendship Garden possible.

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Event emcee Chen Zhou; World Premiere Dance Project Manager Linda Mealey-Lohmann; event co-sponsor and organizer Christina Deng-Morrison of ASANE; and Yan Huss, teacher, Twin Cities Chinese Dance Center 


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 Children were delighted with the inflatable playground


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 Hmong Advisory Committee Chair Ying Chu-Yang-heu and his wife Yang by Master Lei Yixin's sculpture "Meditation"



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