Bullfighting spices up Uruma Festival

Besides bullfights on Saturday, Uruma Festival features Hi-Pu’s Okinawa King of Performance finals, an amateur performance contest featuring sketches usually performed at wedding parties.

The bulls will be running Saturday at the 9th Uruma Festival’s Bullfighting Tournament.

The Uruma Festival is a two-day event Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. ~ 9 p.m., but the Bullfighting Tournament on Saturday only is one of the highlights.  Uruma City is well known as the center of Okinawan bullfighting, and has become very popular among locals, particularly young people and women.  The bullfights at the festival are free, as the huge bovines clash.

The highlight of the festival’s second day is ‘Hi-Pu’s Okinawa Niibichi king of performance final’.  ‘Niibichi’ means wedding party in Okinawan dialect.  In Okinawa, friends, co-workers and relatives of bride and groom will perform something like this dance or playing music at a wedding party.  People usually practice several weeks, and some people are so professional and fun to watch.  They get used to performing in front of several hundred guests and they know how to warm up a party.  So those performers selected all over Okinawa will get together and compete to be a king of performance.

Other than that, there are popular musicians’ performances and the show of ‘Ryujin Mabuyer’, an Okinawan local hero for kids.  Festival admission is free.

The bullfights take place at Ishikawa Multi-purpose Dome, starting at 1 p.m.  The remainder of the festival is at Gushikawan General Athletic Park.  Live music begins at 6:30 p.m., with Jimama at 7:40 p.m. and Four Sisters at 8:15.  The festival closes with fireworks at 8:50 p.m.

On Sunday, Uruma City Kids performing art is showcased at 1 p.m., Hi-Pu’s Okinawa Niibichi King of Performance finals at 3:45 p.m., the Japanese drum show Dazoku at 5:20 p.m., and the Ryujin Mabuyer show at 5:50 p.m.  The Junior Chamber Esu Eisa program is at 6:25 p.m. and fireworks cap the festival at 8:50 p.m.