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Fireworks, sunset concert at Ocean Expo

By: By Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2011-07-14

Literally thousands of fireworks will light up the northern Okinawa skyline this weekend as Ocean Expo Park stages its Summer Festival 2011 before more than 60,000 happy weekend revelers. Thousands more will observe the fireworks from hundreds of boats gathered in coastal waters between Emerald Beach and nearby Ie Island.

From the beach to the concert stage, Saturday will be a day hard to beat anywhere else but Ocean Expo Park.

Gates open in early afternoon, with beach attractions at Emerald Beach running 2 pm. ~ 7 p.m. There’s fun, sports and activities for the kids. The kids are entertained throughout the afternoon with beach soccer, sandal flinging and a sand playground.

A two-hour sunset concert kicks off at 6 p.m. on center stage, featuring live music from Okinawa artists including Zanpa Ufujishi Daiko, Hirara, Kamiya Chihiro, and the Johnny Ginowan Band.

One of Okinawa’s largest pyrotechnics displays and laser shows lights up the night sky starting at 8 p.m. Twenty minutes of colorful fireworks, part of 10,000 to be launched during the hour, dazzle the spectators who’ll gather at Ocean Expo Park and in the waters offshore, to witness the excitement. The second battery of fireworks starts at 8:25 p.m., and features a combination of fireworks and taiko drumming during a half-hour extravaganza.

Large crowds will tax the roads system and make travel slow, leading festival organizers to encourage visitors to be patient. Temporary traffic restrictions will be in effect. A reminder for drivers: the Okinawa Expressway is back to business as normal, with tolls in effect, so be sure to have cash available.

There’s plenty of parking at the Emerald beach site, but it’s all expected to be full by mid-afternoon. Ocean Expo Park closes at 10 p.m., and no overnight stays or parking are allowed. They also encourage visitors to consider using stress-free services of highway bus coach services to and from the festival. They’re available from various coach and travel companies.

Travel to Ocean Expo Park is easy, although slow, taking about 2 ½ hours from central Okinawa. Take Okinawa Expressway to Kyoda Interchange, then follow signs to Motobu and Ocean Expo Park. Ocean Expo is located on the western side of Motobu peninsula.

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