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Okinawa City Carnival has plenty of International flavors

By: By Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2010-11-26

Okinawa City hosts the U.S. Kadena Air Base, plus residents from more than 30 countries, and this weekend theyíll all be joining together for an International Carnival.

The city, also known as Koza, welcomes them all this weekend for the Okinawa International Carnival, a Saturday ~ Sunday festival atmosphere thatís expected to draw many thousands of visitors. Without question, they believe Okinawa City is the most suitable place in the world for an internationally flavored, participation-oriented event.

The carnival spreads itself around Gate 2 Street area in Okinawa City.

The festivities begin at noon Saturday with events at Koza Music Town, Gate 2 Street and Park Avenue. Opening Ceremonies are set for 1 p.m. Saturday, ahead of a parade and local dance exhibitions.

Area Eisa groups will be performing across the afternoon Saturday. The event promises to focus not only tourism and tourists, but on the Okinawa traditions, music cultures, sports and lifestyle.

A parade Saturday afternoon features entrants in native garb from a couple dozen countries, dancing and showcasing international culture as it moves along Chuo Park Avenue to Route 330, then on to Gate 2 Street.

The Samba Parade late Saturday afternoon is a big event that attracts lots of spectators, not to mention cameras.

The International Tug-of-War on Gate 2 Street starts at 6 p.m. Itís a scaled down rope pull from the one in Naha that has put Naha City in the Guinness Book of World Records, but Okinawa City locals say theirs is just as much fun. The tug of war is open to all spectators, although young children should be kept clear of the rope.

Sundayís parade features the Harley Davidson motorcycles, more than 200 in all, heading for the show on Gate 2 Street. The Okinawa International Carnival linked a year ago the Gate 2 Street Festival with the motorcycle events and the two became fast friends and allies to promote the community. Miss Hibiscus Pageant will cap Sunday events. when all eyes will be on the Miss Hibiscus Competition

There will be food vendors and souvenir stands on both days as well as live band performances. Games and activities for children will be plentiful as well.

Organizers emphasize that streets and roadways will be subject to traffic restrictions during the weekend event. Koza Gate 2 Street will be closed Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Park avenue will be closed from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, while Route 330 will have two of its four lanes restricted both Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.]

Organizers also encourage people to park a distance away, because parking in the immediate Chuo Park and Gate 2 Street areas is very limited.

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