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Santa heads lineup at Courtney Christmas Fest

By: Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2006-12-01

The jolly man in the red suit is making his Okinawa debut this weekend at the Courtney Christmas and Holiday Festival.

Santa Claus will make appearances both Saturday and Sunday in the Camp Courtney Commissary/PX area, planning to greet all the good little boys and girls during the northern Okinawa campís annual holiday festival. Parents are encouraged to bring cameras to capture jolly Saint Nick as he chats with their children. The Courtney Christmas and Holiday Festival runs 3~10pm on Saturday and 1~10pm on Sunday.

The 13th annual event sponsored by Marine Corps Community Services has top notch entertainment on tap, with an in-your-face, female fronted rock-pop-punk band leading groups center stage. Ballentine performs Saturday at 9pm, and again Sunday at 7:30pm. Other live performances will come from RAGGS Kids Club, Soulíd Out, Muzik Matrix and the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band.

The Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders will be dancing on stage at 6:45pm Saturday and at 4:15pm Sunday afternoon. The cheerleaders will be signing autographs after the performances. Kung fu demonstrations will take place, and eisa and Ryukyu Koku Matsui Daiko Drummers will also perform.

Organizers have added a bit of sports to the mix for this yearís festival in the form of a softball tournament spanning both days. Teams have been formed from around the island, making donations to the Toys for Tots Program instead of paying a traditional entry fee.

Along with softball, a wide variety of entertainment options are available for kids, including Military Madness, the Rock Wall, a Parachute Ride, the Tiger Slide, the Whale Bounce, a Choo Choo Train, and a pony ride. Culinary delights abound from the dozens of vendors during the festival, including traditional American foods as well as Okinawan and Japanese. There will also be entertainment and souvenirs vendors. Organizers remind festival-goers to leave pets, outside alcohol, bottles and coolers at home, as they are not permitted on the festival grounds.

As with all MCCS festivals, plenty of give-away drawings are planned for this weekend, including one for an extraordinary early Christmas gift―a pair of tickets to one of three U.S. destinations. There will also be a seating class upgrade up for grabs, courtesy of United Airlines and Omega World Travel. Also sponsoring the 2006 Courtney Christmas and Holiday Festival is Verizon.

Saturdayís entertainment kicks off at 3:40pm with Chinese Kanfu and Taichi, a cultural performance, followed by RAGGS Kids Club at 4pm and the Kubasaki High School Cheerleaders dancing at 5pm. Musik Matrix is on stage at 5:30pm, and Ballentine wraps the evening with a 9pm show.

RAGGS Kids Club opens the festivities at 1:45pm Sunday, followed by QSB at 3:15pm, ticket giveaways at 6pm, the Ryukyo-Koku Matsui Daiko Drummers at 6:15pm, the III MEF Band at 6:45pm, Ballentine at 7:30pm and Muzik Matrix closing the festival with a 9pm show.

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