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Rain forces KinserFest to move to next weekend

By: Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2005-06-17

Continuing heavy rainfall has forced MCCS to postpone its annual KinserFest by one week. According to local press reports, Okinawa has received 475 mm (19 inches) rain over the past five days, and more is on promise at least until middle next week.

The adverse weather prevented festival organizers from building the infrastructure for the festival, and MCCS officials made a decision Wednesday afternoon to postpone the party by one week.

Last year’s festival was delayed weeks after a typhoon swept through and moved the event from June to August, when 30,000 revelers finally were able to enjoy the Marine Corps hospitality.

KinserFest 2005 is now scheduled to begin Saturday, Jun 35, at 3pm. The festival, which is free to the public, will be open until midnight.

Festival fun returns Sunday from 1~10pm on Camp Kinser. The KinserFest will take place in an area adjacent to buildings 325 and 326.

First class entertainment finds its way onto the stage, while game booths and amusement rides are available for children. There will also be a KiddieLand, plus a wide range of cultural foods. Deejays will work their musical magic throughout the two-day festival, while performances by Okinawan taiko drummers, Ryukyu traditional dancers and others will take center stage.

The postponement of the festival also means that scheduled concerts were cancelled. MCCS officials said that they would know the names of replacement bands by early next week.

Marine Corps Community Services will be everywhere during KinserFest, as will the American Forces Network, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Wave89 will broadcast from the festival grounds Saturday from 3~6pm, giving festival attendees a chance to wade in the Wave89 Pool O’ Prizes in an attempt to win one of more than $6,200 worth of prizes. A pair of free roundtrip tickets to San Francisco will be given away courtesy of United Airlines and Omega World Travel, and United will also give away a business class upgrade and a United Airlines goody bag. The drawings will be held Sunday evening. Entry is restricted to SOFA status attendees, who can stop
by the United Airlines/Omega World Travel booth to register.

This 11th Annual KinserFest is open to all Okinawa, and select gates will be open to Okinawan vehicles. Security officials advise traffic will be slow, and encourage on-base residents to walk to the KinserFest site.

Urasoe Mayor Mitsuo Gima calls KinserFest “the opportunity to get to know each other better.” Gima says “we are neighbors―the same people ―speaking a different language.” He reflected on last year’s event, encouraging the military community to learn more about the Okinawan culture, and to “experience things on the other side of the gate.”

Questions about the festival may be answered by MCCS Special Events personnel at military 645-5827/5835.

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