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Kampai! This festival is all about Orion Beer

Date Posted: 2011-08-19

It’s the biggest, largest, greatest beer festival in Okinawa, and its sponsor—Orion Beer—is using the weekend event to say ‘thank you’ for drinking its beer.

The Orion Beer Festival is again taking place Saturday and Sunday at the Koza Athletic Park in Okinawa City, and it is a beer-lover’s dream. It’s big enough to draw more than 75,000 participants each year, including many from outside Okinawa, for two days of Orion Beer and top notch entertainment.

Just down the street, Okinawa City is hosting what many bill as the largest Eisa festival on the island, the 56th Island-wide Eisa Festival on a three-day run beginning tomorrow. The festival takes place at Koza Athletic Park and Track and Field Stadium, starting with a parade Friday at 7 p.m. The parade winds its way through Mutsumiga Oka Park, Koza Music Town and along Gate 2 Street.

Eisa Festival admission is free, except for entrance to the main grandstand. S-seat reserved tickets are ¥2,000 in advance and ¥2,500 at the door. A-seat reserved tickets are ¥1,200 in advance, or ¥1,500 at the gate. B-seat tickets, which are actually standing room spaces in the grandstand, are ¥500 at the door. They are not reserved.

Admission to the Orion Beer Festival site is free, but the beer isn’t. Having said that, Orion is offering some great deals and will be bringing Okinawa’s favorite beverage from its brewery in Nago City straight to the festival site. Orion will have tables and chairs set up around the festival grounds.

Beer tickets go on sale, and the beer taps flowing, at 4 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday. Entertainment is virtually non-stop both days, with fireworks capping the festival at 8:50 p.m. both days. Beer ticket sales end both days at 8:50 p.m.

A live concert with Cojaco kicks the music off at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by Akira Ikuma live on stage at 5:25 p.m. Manami performs at 6:15 p.m., followed by the Orion campaign girls’ introduction and ‘Kampai’ toast at 7:05 p.m. The show and music begins again at 7:30 p.m. with Isamu Shimoji, a performer who sings in Miyako dialect meaning that no one, except native Miyako people, of course, understands what he’s singing about. Still he’s hugely successful and popular. Fireworks wraps up the evening at 8:55 p.m.

Beer and snack booths open at 4:15 p.m. Sunday, just in time for music with Saori begins 4:30 p.m., followed by ToKKy and Kumoji Band at 5:10 p.m. It’s the Orion Beer Girls offering ‘Kampai’ toasts at 5:55 p.m., before Manami performs at 6:15 p.m. Orion Beer’s festival representatives take to the stage at 7 p.m., leading into the evening’s main act, Diamantes, at 7:30 p.m. Fireworks launch into the night sky starting at 8:50 p.m.

Koza Athletic Park is near Kadena Air Base, just a few hundred meters from the Okinawa Minami Expressway entrance/exit on Route 23. Very limited parking is available, so it is recommended people leave cars on base and take the 10-minute walk to the festival site near Kadena Air Base Gate 2. Some restrictions apply, including no underage kids unless accompanied by parents, no personal containers and no outside beverages permitted.

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