Despite the near-freezing temperatures, Chinatown’s streets were filled on Thursday, October 18th. Smoke and steam billowed from tents, with the smell of buttered and roasted corn, and grilled skewers filling the air. This was the eighth year in a row that the YèShì was held. Hosted by the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, the goal of the YèShì has been to introduce newcomers to the neighborhood through foods and entertainment. Even amongst Philadelphia natives, many people have rarely visited Chinatown.
Highlighting Chinatown and its businesses is also a reason why the event has been historically held on Thursday nights. Weekdays are often the slowest periods of a business, so in order to create excitement and energy within the commercial corridor, the YèShì works to bring crowds that would otherwise not be in Chinatown during that time.
Although due to Hurricane Michael pushing the YèShì a week later, the crowds still came, and they came hungry. 44 food trucks and stalls, as well as Chinatown businesses, serviced almost 20,000 people throughout the night. Not only was food abundant, but performances were as well.
This year, on the 10th and Arch Street stage, sponsored by AARP, we saw performances by a variety of different bands and dance groups, including: KIDZ, L8NITE, Dreaming Thomas, L&M Dance Studio, and Overcoming Gravity. DJ Ronnie D, a long supporter of the YèShì, wrapped up the night with an extensive DJ performance which had people dancing. On Race and 9th Street, local performers sang songs, danced, and recited poetry to crowds at the Open Mic stage. Performers included: Angel Martinez, Andre Pak, InterAct Theatre, Win Dang, NIIC the Singing Dog, CNN Squad, and FIKI.
Special thanks to our sponsors and supporters: AARP Pennsylvania, Bath Fitter, Green Mountain Energy, Xfinity, DJ Ronnie D, Breslow Partners, and Keystone Fire Protection Company.