Colorful molded Play-Doh dropped from the plastic mooncake molds into the hands of impatiently waiting children. They squealed in delight. Families weaved through the museum stopping to try the star food: mooncakes.

Traditionally, Chinese people hold the Mid-Autumn Harvest Festival to mark the end of a successful Harvest season. They eat mooncakes, golden brown pastries filled with a thick dense paste, to celebrate.

The Manhattan Museum of Chinese in America holds its own version called the Mid-Autumn Harvest Family Festival. Sept. 24, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., they opened their doors to the public. Streams of blue shirted volunteers were ready to educate the incoming hundreds and to celebrate the holiday.

“We’ve been doing this since 2010, in this scope,” said MOCA staffer Lauren Nechamkin.

In China and in America, mooncakes are an acquired taste. While these pastries vary from region to region, the dense fillings typically range from cooked duck egg yolk, lotus seed paste and red bean paste to chocolate and pineapple.

These pastries are molded into square shapes and stamped with designs such as complicated Chinese characters or curling, intricate flowers.

At the museum, the intimacy of a family gathering is hard to replicate,  said Nechamkin. Instead, her group focuses on hosting traditional Chinese shadow theatre and bilingual folklore tellinG. There are also child-friendly crafts: traditional Chinese ink painting, Play-Doh mooncake molding, and puppet-making.

At the heart of the museum’s event is mooncake tasting — an experience that is more memorable rather than delicious for many celebrants.

At the mooncake tasting station, quarters of the mooncakes filled with a thick lotus seed paste were set out. One boy took a bite, frowned, then dropped the rest of the mooncake into the trash.

But most participants zoomed by the pastries to crowd around the table offering bubble tea.

“The mooncakes are okay — my daughter liked making the mooncakes more,” said Chris Lee, a 52-year-old parent.  “But she sat through the shadow play, and she’s learning.”

“They’re okay, I like sweet things, and they’re not sweet enough,” said Nicole James Murray, a visiting 20-year-old student.

The staff weathered the lukewarm reaction with good humor. Nechamkin said visitors are “getting exposure to Chinese culture. We’re engaging them.”

The main attraction seemed to be making Play-Doh mooncakes with genuine mooncake molds. The station teemed with people, adults and children alike, making multi-colored mooncakes.

“For my grandnieces and grandnephews,” said Lisa SooHou, 64, who was visiting from California as she held up her creations.