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International flavor to infuse weekend festival

By: Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2006-02-16

The magnificent beauty of orchids and cherry blossoms in full bloom fills the island, signaling it’s time for a new round of festivals.

Okinawa City leaps to the forefront this weekend with its International Festival taking place Sunday in Noborikawa. The single day festival this year pays homage to four thousand years of Chinese history, while also honoring Okinawans who’ve emigrated overseas.

The burst of warm weather is an added incentive to get out and begin exploring this weekend, with the Okinawa City International Festival. The festival takes place at the Okinawa Agricultural Center on Highway 329 roughly 500 meters south of the Expressway’s Okinawa Kita Exit. Festival hours are 10am to 5pm.

This 16th annual festival, organized by Okinawa City as a way of fostering international friendship and understanding between Okinawa City’s residents and foreigners, will include all the traditional festival activities such as ethnic foods and flea markets, plus the ever-present games and hawker stalls.

The festival highlights Chinese culture this year, tracing back through the past four thousand years of Asian customs and history. A Chinese opera performance kicks the festival off Friday evening (Feb. 17) at th Okinawa City Civil Hall. Tickets are Y2,500.

The event, organized by the Okinawa City International Friendship Association, will also recognize the accomplishments of islanders who emigrated to Peru 100 years ago. The official anniversary was commemorated in Peru several weeks ago, with Governor Keiichi Inamine and a delegation of more than 40 Okinawans traveling to South America to honor the second and third generation descendants of families who made the trans-oceanic trek.

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