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Light Up Chinatown
Photograph: @nyclovesnyc

A new festival celebrating Chinatown kicks off Friday

88 East Fair promises food, shopping and more.

Written by
Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
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The annual Feast of San Gennaro may be wrapped, but another tasty festival is slated to take place in Lower Manhattan.

88 East Fair, a new festival by the advocacy group Welcome to Chinatown, will celebrate the neighborhood on Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1 from 11am–7pm. The event aims to boost the neighborhood and bring business and appreciation to Chinatown businesses and cultural institutions, many of which have suffered since early 2020. 

Held at the East Broadway Mall (88 East Broadway), the aptly named festival will be full of immersive experiences to keep attendees of all ages entertained. A Chinatown scavenger hunt will help people get acquainted with the essence of the neighborhood (plus, earn prizes); the Behind the Counter exhibit will dive into what it's like to run a small business in Chinatown, complete with image projections, audio interviews, and artifacts; a live in Chinatown embroidery shop will offer guests the opportunity to customize apparel with exclusive embroidery designs; Artist Alley will showcase a curated selection of work by AAPI artists; and more activities are on the docket for the two-day celebration!

To eat, pork soup dumplings and Chinese BBQ skewers from Xiao Chi Jie, plus more from the vendors located at East Broadway Mall, a staple of the community that's currently in danger of existing due to gentrification. Welcome to Chinatown also curated a list of beloved local street vendors, should you want to guide yourself on a tasting tour of the area (bring cash). 

Feeling competitive? Enroll in Food Mahjongg Club's third tournament, hosted by Kiko Soirée, a nonbinary drag artist, and YiuYiu, a community organizer and DJ. Lessons will take place an hour before the tournament at 88 Palace, if you need to brush up on your skills, and entry is $50 a person

Away this weekend? Check out our list of top Fall Festivals in NYC to get your autumn on! 

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