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Dazzling fireworks launch summer season

By: By Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2012-04-20

A dozen singers and groups will provide six hours of entertainment as Ryukyu Kaiensai, a massive fireworks festival, kicks off the Okinawa summer season.

As the robins return to Capistrano, a sure sign that winter is behind us, the first fireworks festival of the year is this weekend, April 21st, at the Ginowan City’s Seaside Park at Tropical Beach. Sponsored by Japan Air Lines Japan Trans Ocean Air, the ninth annual festival will see the skies illuminated by more than 10,000 pyrotechnics of all shapes, sizes and colors.

Live activities will get under way at 3 p.m. at the main gate, a prelude to Eisa, Shi-Shi Dance and street performances at the Tropical Beach lawn open space and at the Seaside Park sports space, including a comedian show by Ryukyues, and provide plenty of entertainment until the fireworks exhibition program kicks off at 7:30 p.m. The hour-long show will feature music timed to the fireworks launches, which are computer driven to integrated laser light show beams, the music and the illuminations. Festival grounds open at 3 p.m.

Advance tickets are on sale until April 20th. Adult tickets are ¥2,500, and tickets for youngsters under 15 are ¥1,500. Tickets at the gate April 21st are ¥3,000 for adults and ¥2,000 for kids under 15. Tickets are required for those wanting to enjoy the music and watch the fireworks from within the Tropical Beach area, where visitors may bring their own blankets or chairs. Anyone wanting to watch the fireworks from along the beach may do so free.

Preceding the fireworks extravaganza, the Ryukyu Motor Carnival takes place from 3:30 p.m. ~ 7 p.m. at the Tropical Beach parking area. Even earlier, from 1 p.m. ~ 8:30 p.m., there will be a Kids’ Village, a movable amusement park set up.

This year’s theme the brainchild of designer Junko Koshino, who from her Tokyo base has been holding fashion shows the world over since starting her Paris Collection in 1978, a Beijing Show in 1985, the New York Metropolitan Museum in 1990, Vietnam in ’04, Cub in -96, Poland in ’97 and Myanmar in ’09. She’s built this year’s fireworks illusion around the Opera Turandot. Koshino spent much of last year putting together charity concerts and performances at Suntory Hall in Tokyo and another by 100 artists at Salle Gaveau in Paris to aid support for survivors of the March 11th, 2011 great earthquake and tsunami.

Her works are choreographed with specially designed fireworks forming images that paint the night sky with music. In addition, there’s to be a collaboration performance between the fireworks and disco music, with DJ OSSHY, Japan’s leading deejay, handling the illusion with special guest artist Bro KONE.

Ginowan City, Ryukyu Broadcasting, Okinawa Prefecture, the Okinawa Convention Center, Ginowan City Tourism Promotion Association and Ginowan City Chamber of Commerce are joining the Ryukyu Kaien Sai committee in sponsoring the event.

Seaside Park is directly behind the Okinawa Convention Center in Ginowan City, 4-2-1 Mashiki. It’s only a five-minute walk from the Convention Center, although the limited parking is a few hundred meters further away. Leisure seats and cooler boxes are prohibited on the park grounds.

Sunday, April 22nd, has been designated as a make-up date if Saturday’s fireworks festival is canceled due to stormy weather including strong rains and strong winds. Organizers say rain alone will not stop the Saturday performance, reminding people to bring raincoats, but NOT umbrellas, which would block views of the fireworks. As a safety measure, spectators are encouraged to bring flashlights to use if visits to rest room facilities are necessary during the evening.

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