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USO Kadena to host weekend Craft Fair

Date Posted: 2009-09-17

Okinawa’s customs and culture come alive this weekend as the Kadena USO hosts a Craft Fair to introduce the military community to traditional crafts.

The 2nd Annual USO Okinawa Craft Fair takes place both Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. ~ 7 p.m., at the Kadena USO. The USO Okinawa Programs Manager, Brian White, says “what makes this event unique is that folks will be able to learn about Okinawan crafts through translated biographies on the crafters, watch how different crafts are made, and also be able to make their own crafts at demonstration booths.”

White says the Okinawan artisans will also have items for sale at reduced prices during the event. There’s a lot to do at the Craft Fair, says White, including “making your own original craft, shopping for yourself or for the holidays, or acquainting yourself with crafters via our volunteer translators.” White has assembled a team of crafters representing world famous Ryukyu glass, handcrafted wood décor and gifts, unique hand woven fabrics, original leather creations and traditional Okinawa instruments.

Traditional Okinawan foods, including Ryumin Gyoza and fried rice, Okinawa Soba and Okinawan snacks will be available throughout the weekend. Sponsor booths will provide information to visitors. On-Time Cleaning shares the ease of affordable, professional cleaning, while UMUC explains its Japanese Studies program and other educational interests. U.S. Land has maps to Okinawa’s Fun ‘play land’ for all ages, and Yotsutake Dinner Theater provides details of its Okinawa cuisine and traditional Okinawan dance performances.

White says there are dozens of reasons for supporting the craft fair, beginning with the fact the USO, as a non-profit organization, operates only with support contributions, donations and sponsorships to provide all the free programs and services to troops. “Our free services include international calls via skype phones, wi-fi and internet services, relaxing lounges with large screen televisions, multiple rooms and a movie theater for hosting special functions, recreational lounges to enjoy billiards and X-box gaming,” he says, “as well as providing a get-away from the daily stresses.”

Free programs offered GI’s include popular FJF, Free Food Night, holiday cakes, Operation USO Care Packages, and welcome aboard barbeques, White says.

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