Annually held from lunar March 15th to 22nd, the March Street Festival has enjoyed a history of more than 1,000 years. It appears to be an inviting card for the tour sector of Dali. Referred to as "Guan Yin Shi" (market for Goddess of Mercy) or "Guan Yin Hui"(temple fair for Goddess of Mercy) in old times, the March Street Festival has also become an important traditional event for economic and cultural exchange between different ethnic groups in Dali area.
The venue of the March Street Festival is near the Old Town of Dali. Legend goes that on lunar March 15 of one year during the reign of Xi Nuluo of the Nanzhao Kingdom (738-937), Goddess of Mercy (Guanyin) came to preach in Dali and exorcized one demon called Luocha. In order to show their gratitude to the Goddess of Mercy, the locals set up sheds on each lunar March 15, chanting and making sacrifice to the Goddess of Mercy; the locals later called it Guanyin Street or March Street.
The March Street Festival has developed into a rather influential trade fair and grand event for ethnic cultural exchange in Dali and even Yunnan. The assorted cultural activities organized during the festival such as horse racing, antiphonal singing and other ethnic singing and dancing etc have become the strongest appeal to both domestic and overseas visitors.