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All-Okinawa emphasis at Island Fair

By: Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2008-11-14

It’s slated for the weekend before Thanksgiving, and Okinawa Island Fair organizers are promising a perfect three-day event to get everyone in the Christmas shopping spirit.

The Island Fair, an annual event at the Okinawa Convention Center, runs Saturday, November 22nd through Monday, November 24th, perfect timing for shopping those ‘hard to find’ traditional Okinawa gifts, just in time for the postal mailing deadlines to get the trinkets stateside for Christmas.

The Island Fair is free, introducing visitors to dozens of products and goods from throughout the Ryukyu archipelago, each with its own special history and personality. Best of all, it’s more than a ‘take a look’ fair, as visits can touch, feel and taste the products…and then buy them. Many products are difficult to find under the best of circumstances, as they come from many of the outer islands and locales throughout the prefecture.

Local folk songs play a big role in the dancing, music, and singing that keep the tempo moving throughout the three-day Island Fair. Expect taiko drummer, shisa and folk dances, as well as folk songs and stories from Miyako, Kume, Tokashiki, Tarama, Yaeyama, Kudaka and other island communities.

Okinawa Convention Center doors are open at 1 p.m. Saturday the 22nd, and the Island Fair is open until 6 p.m. Sunday and Monday, November 23rd and 24th, the Island Fair operates 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Island Fair organizers, concerned about safety, ask parents to leave baby carriages and strollers at the head office outside the Convention Center, and not take them into the exhibition hall. Pets are not permitted inside the Convention Center facilities.

It’s easy to find the Okinawa Convention Center. Take Highway 58 south from Kadena Air Base and Camp Foster, turning right about 100 meters after passing the Camp Foster Kitamae Gate 5. Go straight for several kilometers, and look for the Okinawa Convention Center on the right.

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