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Uchinaanchu Festival only three weeks away

Date Posted: 2006-09-22

The World Uchinaanchu Festival is coming to Okinawa starting October 12th.

The October festival is the fourth Uchinaanchu event staged on the island, a festival staged every five years to bring home Okinawans who live across the globe. More than 1,000 Okinawans living in Hawaii are expected to participate, along with another 4,000 from dozens of countries.

The Festival promotes and supports Okinawa culture, and offers overseas residents a chance to make hometown dreams come true. The four-day festival takes place at a series of venues across Okinawa, with rallies, dinners and dancing just some of the activities bringing the overseas Okinawans closer together.

Okinawans living in Hawaii kicked off the World Uchinaanchu Festival fever the beginning of this month with a Hawaii~Okinawa Festival. The two-day program was staged in Honoluluís Kapiolani Park, with shuttle busses carrying more than 500,000 visitors from the local community college campus to the park.

Sanshin players, Okinawa taiko drums and dance, and karate, together with Okinawa foods, gave Hawaiians a chance to see the Okinawa culture close up. At the same time, Hawaii pops and the Hawaiian Royal bands provided live music for the festival. Okinawa was also available on CDís, including a fund raiser that offered sales of an Okinawa dialect dictionary.

Organizers say more than 10,000 volunteers helped make the event successful, while running commentary was broadcast both days on radio to all of the Hawaiian islands.

The French Okinawan Association is getting cranked up for the World Uchinaanchu Festival too, staging a meeting September 10th in Paris to launch a photo exhibition traveling to Naha City, where it will be on display from October 10th~15th. The French also had a pianist on hand, and staged concerts to get everyone in the mood. Participants wore uniforms of Franceís soccer team, and will paint the French flag on their faces for the parade in Okinawa.

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