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Hot Eisa and cold beer galore this weekend

Date Posted: 2003-08-15

The 48th annual “All-Island Eisa Festival” will take place in Okinawa City this weekend, with Orion Beer’s Festival offering relief to the thirsty. The Eisa Festival kicks of at the Baseball Stadium at the Koza Athletic Park.weekend, while the Orion Beer Festival will will be serving its beverages on the baseball field next to the Eisa venue.

As many as 15 Eisa groups from various parts of the island will take part in the two-day event that begins each day at 4 p.m. The evening festivities end with fireworks starting at 9:15 p.m. An eisa group of foreign residents of Okinawa has been a fixture in the festival for some 15 years and is scheduled to perform starting 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.

During the summer, a number of "Eisa-dance" performances can be seen at many festivals around the island. Eisa dance was originally performed as part of a prayer for the spirits of the ancestors. In Okinawa, as well as in the mainland, it is believed the spirits of ancestors come back home during Obon, a day on which memorial services are held. Eisa originally started as a dance to escort the ancestors' spirits back to their resting place on the last day of Obon.

Local police say the festival has regularly attracted over 200,000 spectators. Eisa has become an essential part of the Okinawa summer, and many young people enthusiastically take part in this performing art.

Okinawa City Baseball Stadium is close to Kadena gate 5. However, there is no parking in the area, and police say they will not be lenient. Visitors’ best bet is to park at the USO on Kadena Air Base, then walk out of Gate 2 and take a right at the 2nd traffic light. The stadium will be on the left side after about a 10-minute walk.

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