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Music, fun and fireworks light up Expo Festival

By: By Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2010-07-15

Thousands of fireworks will light up the northern Okinawa skies this weekend as the highlight of the Ocean Expo Memorial Park Fire Festival 2010.

Organizers expect more than 60,000 spectators will flock to Emerald Beach at Ocean Expo Memorial Park to witness the hour-long barrage of pyrotechnics capping the Saturday festival, while thousands more observe the fireworks from hundreds of boats gathered in coastal waters between Emerald Beach and nearby Ie Island.. Itís the largest fireworks extravaganza on the island, with 10,000+ colorful fireworks being fired off starting at 8 p.m. The battery of fireworks actually comes in two stages, 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., with a brief intermission while technicians reload the launch tubes. Following the fireworks thereís a one-hour moonlight concert to cap the evening.

Emerald Beach in the Ocean Expo Memorial Park kicks off the festivities at 2 p.m. Saturday with five hours of what it calls a ĎBeach Attractioní filled with music and fun. There are plenty of activities for the kids, a quiz, and exhibitions explaining the mystique of fireworks. The kids are entertained throughout the afternoon with water slides and banana boat rides, a water jungle thatís safe for even small tykes, a paintings art corner, a baby pool and sand playground, water gun shooting games and assorted beach activities.

Also in the Emerald Beach south area is a Chura Umi Zone with exhibitions of the oceanís dangerous creatures and an introduction to the Chura Umi Aquarium at Expo Park.

Action begins on stage beginning at 4 p.m. Live performances include AMG, Nuchi, Tink Tink, Crystal Kay and Yosakoi Soula.

Festival officials encourage visitors to be patient, because the large crowds will tax the roads system and make exit travel slow. Thereís plenty of parking at the Emerald Beach site, but itís all expected to be full by mid-afternoon. The Ocean Expo Park closes at 10pm, and no overnight stays or parking are allowed. Organizers note, however, there are plenty of nearby beaches that allow overnight parking.

Travel to Ocean Expo Park is easy, although slow, taking about 2Ĺ hours for the journey. Take Okinawa Expressway to Kyoda Interchange, then follow signs to Nago City, then Motobu, and Ocean Expo Park. Drivers should be prepared for sometimes lengthy traffic jams and halts as thousands more cars are on the Okinawa Expressway now that the roadway is toll free.

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