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Fireworks, sunset concert at Ocean Expo

By: By Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2009-07-09

Literally thousands of fireworks will light up the northern Okinawa skyline next weekend as Ocean Expo Park stages its Summer Festival 2009 before more than 50,000 happy weekend revelers.

From the beach to the concert stage, Saturday, July 18th will be a day hard to beat anywhere else but Ocean Expo Park. Gates open in early afternoon, with beach attractions at Emerald Beach running 2 pm. ~ 7 p.m. There’s fun, sports, activities for the kids, a quiz, and daylight fireworks. The kids are entertained throughout the afternoon with water slides and banana boat rides, a water jungle that’s safe for even the small tykes, children’s fireworks paintings art corner, a baby pool and sand playground, water gun shooting games and a beach treasure hunt.

On the sport side, there’s a beach soccer, basketball throwing, and a nine-goal baseball strike contest. Across the beach there’s the Expo Park quiz contest during the 4 p.m. ~ 5:30 p.m. time. The Ryukyu Golden Kings ‘Catch the Ball Game’ will be on hand, and daytime fireworks are launched 5:40 p.m. to 6 p.m.

A two-hour sunset concert kicks off at 6 p.m. on center stage, with Hui-o-Leilani, Akira Ikuma, Jimama, Kachimba 1551 and D-51 performing.

Okinawa’s largest pyrotechnics display and laser show lights up the night sky starting at 8 p.m. Twenty minutes of colorful fireworks, part of 10,000 to be launched during the hour, dazzle the spectators who’ll gather at Ocean Expo Park and in the waters offshore, to witness the excitement. The second battery of fireworks starts at 8:30 p.m.

And still, it doesn’t end. Following the fireworks extravaganza, organizers break into Eisa, and light up the fountain from 9 pm. ~ 10 p.m. There’s also to be street performances by Awkwards, and a street concert by AMB, Nuchi and Akidas.

Large crowds will tax the roads system and make travel slow, leading festival organizers to encourage visitors to be patient. There’s plenty of parking at the Emerald beach site, but it’s all expected to be full by mid-afternoon. Ocean Expo Park closes at 10 p.m., and no overnight stays or parking are allowed. The organizers point out, though, that there are plenty of nearby beaches that allow overnight parking.

Travel to Ocean Expo Park is easy, although slow, taking about 2 ½ hours from central Okinawa. Take Okinawa Expressway to Kyoda Interchange, then follow signs to Motobu and Ocean Expo Park.

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