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Kadena Needs Participants for Okinawa International Carnival

By: Kenny Ehman & Kelly Smith

Date Posted: 1999-10-23

Okinawa City will be hosting a big international carnival from Saturday October 30th to Sunday October 31st. The carnival, sponsored by the Okinawa City Office, Okinawa City Chamber of Commerce, business organizations and civic groups, aims at stimulating the city’s economy and establishing Okinawa as an international cultural tourism city.

A variety of cultural events involving native Okinawans and the foreign community have been scheduled. Okinawa’s cultural diversity will be on display, together with colorful parades and kids’ tug of war, all over Kuko Street (just out of Gate 2 kadena) and Highway 330. The Pacific Air force Band will perform in a series of joint free concerts with two local musicians at the nearby Ashibina Theater in Korinza Shopping Mall.

DANCING IN THE STREETS

The Okinawa City International Carnival will be bringing together many of the different cultures that exist here on Okinawa. In celebrating the 25th anniversary of the city which has become synonymous with internationalism for most Okinawans, the Okinawa Chamber of Commerce will be combining this year's event with the efforts of the Okinawa City International Exchange Festival. Everyone will be up for a weekend full of entertainment, food, and cultural activities.

Park Avenue will host a melange of different cuisine. Food vendors will have celebrants’ senses alive with exotic smells and tastes. Over twenty different food stalls will be selling everything, from Filipino lumpia to Mexican tacos. The street will be blocked off from traffic in order to enable strolling and full enjoyment of the outdoor carnival atmosphere at a relaxed pace.

For those who are looking forward to some "dancin’ in the streets," organizers have set up a large stage area that will showcase Okinawa's great love for world music: jazz, rock, Latino, and hip hop are some of the musical genres scheduled for the weekend gala. Carnival excursionists will also catch some Filipino and Chinese folk dances.

Inside the Corinza Mall, there will be several displays and "cultural corners" arranged to introduce various organizations and groups offering a variety of activities. The visitor will be able to pick up plenty of useful information, and could even participate in a "Buka Buka Cha" (Okinawan Tea Ceremony).

"We want to provide an international venue for, not only the foreign community, but also the Okinawan community," said key organizer Arthur Arao. He also mouthed the hope for many young people to come out and see what Okinawa City has to offer.

Meanwhile, at Gate 2 Street, more action will take place simultaneously, enabling everyone to cruise back and forth between the two separate areas. There will be plenty of fun for youngsters on Saturday, starting with some 3 on 3 basketball, followed by a children's "eisa" performance, and finally the giant kid's tug-of-war event which is open to everyone. The "Young Music Festival" will feature some great amateur bands to get all moving to the beat. Don't forget to check out the international parade that will take place on Sunday at 4 p.m. joining over 5,000 participants.

The festivities will begin around noon and continue until 9 p.m. on both days.

KADENA IN NEED OF PARTICPANTS

Kadena Air Base is also recruiting individuals working or living on the base for various events during the Okinawa International Carnival. One hundred children, ages 9-15, are needed for the children’s tug of war on Saturday, October 30. Interested parties can sign up at Kadena Youth Center (Tel: 634-0500) and receive free carnival T-shirts before the event. One hundred children are also required to carry US State flags during the parade on Sunday, October 31st. Contact Staff Sgt. Maurice Tina (Tel: 634-8879/6703) for sign up. One hundred and fifty participants are also needed to carry the Mikoshi (Japanese portable shrine coming from Tokyo) during the Sunday parade. Call Capt. Wendy Lee for sign up at 630-4791. To get information on transportation arrangements for all participants, contact Mr. Sakihama at 634-1595.

Even some religious groups will be joining in the carnival. The children of Kadena Community Church International are scheduled to illuminate the carnival streets when their L.I.G.H.T. Company dawns on the streets outside Gate 2 Kadena. LIGHT stands for “Loving Intercessors Giving His Testimony.” According to KCCI spiritual leaders, these children will be performing Christian-oriented art and entertainment aimed at helping the audience receive God’s blessings while they celebrate an essentially pagan carnival. Kadena Community Church is also calling on members and all Christians to join them early in the morning on Saturday 30th, before the real carnival begins, to make a prophetic march of prayers around the streets of Okinawa City where the activities will be held. To learn more about this Christian dimension of the carnival, call Pastors Glenn and Sue Kennedy at 098-956-3697 or 973-1715.

EVENT SCHEDULE:

Friday, 29 Oct (pre-carnival event):
PACAF Band concert at Ashibina Theater in Korinza Shopping Mall outside Gate 2
(1900-2100. Free admission; brochure available at Schilling Community Center)

Saturday, 30 Oct :
-Opening ceremony on Gate 2 street (13:30-14:00)
-3 on 3 Basketball on Gate 2 street (14:00-16:00)
-Soccer PK competition on Gate 2 street (14:00-16:00)
-Children’s tug of war on Gate 2 street (17:00-18:00)
-PACAF Band concert on Gate 2 street stage (16:00-17:00)
-Ryuku Kingdom drummers’ parade from Kuter Blvd to Gate street (18:00-19:30)

Sunday, 31 Oct :
-Okinawa City Citizens’ Costume Parade on Hwy 330 and Gate 2 street (16:00-21:00)
-PACAF Band concert on Park Avenue (12:00-13:15)

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