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Dazzling fireworks launch summer season

By: Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2009-04-10

A dozen singers and groups will provide six hours of entertainment as Ryukyu Kaiensai, a massive fireworks festival, kicks off the Okinawa summer season.

As the robins return to Capistrano, a sure sign that winter’s behind us, the first fireworks festival of the year is next weekend, April 18th, at the Ginowan Kaihin Park. Sponsored by Japan Air Lines Japan Trans Ocean Air, the sixth annual festival will see the skies illuminated by more than 10,000 pyrotechnics of all shapes, sizes and colors.

Live music will get under way at 3 p.m. and provide plenty of entertainment until the fireworks exhibition kicks off at 8 p.m. The hour-long show will feature music timed to the fireworks launches, which are computer driven to integrated laser light show beams, the music and the illuminations. Festival grounds open at 2 p.m.

Advance tickets are on sale until April 17th. Adult tickets are ¥2,500, and tickets for youngsters under 12 are ¥1,500. Tickets at the gate April 18th are ¥3,000 for adults and ¥2,000 for kids under 12. Tickets are required for those wanting to enjoy the music and watch the fireworks from within the Tropical Beach are, where visitors may bring their own blankets or chairs. Anyone wanting to watch the fireworks from outside the beach may do so free.

Japan Update will raffle five tickets to the event. Those who wish to participate should e-mail to editor@japanupdate.com with “kaiensai” on the e-mail subject line. A telephone number is also required. The deadline is 5 p.m. on Monday.

This year’s theme centers on an Okinawan proverb that if people meet once, they become brothers and sisters for a lifetime, with an invitation for “Everybody to Make Friendship with Everyone.” Ginowan City, Ryukyu Broadcasting, Okinawa Prefecture, the Okinawa Convention Center, Ginowan City Tourism Promotion Association and Ginowan City Chamber of Commerce are joining the Ryukyu Kaien Sai committee in sponsoring the event.

Kaihin Park is directly behind the Okinawa Convention Center in Ginowan City, 4-2-1 Mashiki. It’s only a five-minute walk from the Convention Center, although the limited parking is a few hundred meters further away. Leisure seats and cooler boxes are prohibited on the park grounds.

Sunday, April 19th, has been designated as a make-up date if Saturday’s fireworks festival is canceled due to rain. Organizers say if it rains both the 17th and 18th, ticket purchases will be refunded.

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