Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival presents unique culture, amazing performances

CAB helps to put on an annual festival that celebrates Chinese culture and provides a stage for talented singers, dancers, and other artists.


Adrian Enzastiga, Arts Reporter

Gold and red streamers line the upstairs balconies, and dark orange paper lanterns hang from the ceiling. Underneath beams of bluish-tinted lights are Chinese traditional dancers, set in formation with flowing red dresses outlined in gold. Silk-like fabric extends like waves off their long sleeves, creating an illusion of dancing fire as they move fluidly to wordless music.

The annual Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival was held in the IMU Second-Floor Ballroom. Organized by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, Oasis Falafel, and Campus Activities Board, the festival celebrates Chinese culture with games and performances.

This was the first year that CAB was involved. CAB cultural executive Nicole Hobson said she was excited about making the event bigger than in the past to reach more people in the university.

“A really big thing for us is to make sure people feel at home here who may not be from Iowa,” Hobson said. “We know we have a ton of international students and we want to make sure that everyone feels like the University of Iowa is a place for them to be.”

The festival consisted of two parts. The first two hours were a carnival-type event with such games as Plinko, Latter Ball, and Cornhole. Students could earn tickets at each game and be entered into a lottery for prizes ranging from televisions to snack bundles.

A.J. King, a member of CAB’s culture committee, is glad they contributed to the event.

“We have so many events that bring in so many other cultures, and the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival is just one of them,” they said.

The second part of the festival showcased 10 performances that performances featured various types of dancers, vocalists, a band, and a magic show.

The Chinese Tradition Dance, Shuiyue, kicked off the show and was unique in its fluid movements and beautiful dresses. Another standout performance was Yifei Tong, whose heartfelt song “Thinking of You” caused the audience to wave their phone flashlights in the air.

CAB culture committee member Mishma Nixon appreciates what the Mid-Autumn Festival does for the international community.

“I am an international student myself, so I already know what it’s like to have an event that’s part of your culture and to see it as something great,” Nixon said. “For someone who is so far away from home, it’s great to have events where you feel like you fit in.”

Watching the performances and being a part of the event was inspiring; it was a perfect fusion of Chinese culture in Iowa. It was wonderful to witness such powerful art presented by a significant cultural community at the UI.

There were two charismatic MC’s that presented each act, saying their lines twice, first in Mandarin, then in English.

Besides a great display of Chinese culture, the festival also delivered an artistic production that was energetic, entertaining, and engaging. The UI Breakers tore up the stage with its freestyle and wild breakdancing. The hip-hop groups were in sync and on rhythm, creating stunning visuals and pictures in their choreography. The jazz routine brought an unrivaled amount of sass and style. These groups were especially stunning with the coordinated lights that flashed behind them.

The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival was a special cultural celebration, giving life to a groovy, captivating show.

“To me, personally, it just means being able to be a part of that culture and learn about it,” Hobson said. “That’s been a lot when working on the event.”