Multicolored lion dancers from Formosa Association of Student Culture Ambassadors (FASCA) dramatize the San Francisco Union Square stage. (Max Kiyoi)
Multicolored lion dancers from Formosa Association of Student Culture Ambassadors (FASCA) dramatize the San Francisco Union Square stage.

Max Kiyoi

San Francisco celebrates AAPI month with the annual Taiwanese Cultural Festival

May 11, 2022

On May 7th, San Francisco’s Union Square held a Taiwanese Cultural Festival, the largest celebration on the West Coast recurring almost every year since 19973. The family-friendly celebration featured food, storytellers, singers, and speakers from all over the Bay Area from 10 am to 4 pm.

“It just kind of shows where we are in the growth of our community and how much we want to really contribute to the broader mainstream diversity of America,” said founder of Ho Chie Tsai.

Booths and activities were set up around the square to visit including TaiwanPlus, a Taiwan center for Mandarin learning, and a Taiwan tourism bureau. Storytellers and authors came to read their publications to the children attending. A booth with cultural exhibit with offered a chance to learn about people, culture, and history. Information tables with ceramics and snacks welcomed attendees while speakers and performers intrigued attendees on the main stage.

“This year we’re featuring a story about Peter Tsai, inventor of the N95 mask that you are wearing. He’s Chinese-American, and most people don’t even realize that it was his technology developed decades ago when he came here as a graduate research student that he developed these masks that are helping us through the pandemic now,” said Tsai.

Liang’s Village and Duan Chun Zhen fed guests beef noodle soup, passion fruit tea, candied fruit skewers, and other options. The Crystal Children’s Choir, Vitality Little Paiwan dancers, white crane lion dance, and many more entertained Union Square. Rosalie Chiang, the voice of Meilin Lei from Pixar’s Turning Red, also came for a meet and greet at the storyteller’s booth.

“We try to get a diverse group of performers that represent the different areas. We have today several authors also represented here and they’ll be doing some story reading. Then there’s also the food that we’re selling; we have two vendors here today who are one of the top Taiwanese restaurants in the Bay Area,” said festival volunteer Peter Lin.

The festival was an opportunity for Taiwanese Americans to highlight their culture and differences. The event has many opportunities for those attending to learn and experience part of what makes the international community special. 

“We want people to know that there’s a community that’s growing and it exists…we’re just trying to highlight the differences, the unique history, the people, the culture, the food, the experiences,” said Tsai.

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  • Formosa Association of Student Cultural Ambassadors (FASCA) performers demonstrate their abilities to toss and spin yo-yos for the crowd below the stage.

  • Children from Vitality Little Paiwan warm up on stage before their performance.

  • The Crystal Children’s Choir warm up to get a feel for acoustics of the stage.

  • FASCA juggler tosses multi-colored rings during a performance with the yo-yo group members.

  • The Vitality Little Paiwan ensemble hold the Taiwan national flag while dancing.

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