The 2012 Omatsuri Festival proved to be a phenomenal success in showcasing Japanese culture. We were once again blessed with beautiful weather, a bigger variety of outdoor performances, indoor demonstrations, a wider selection of vendors, a more festive look complete with chochins and a spectacular hand-crafted omikoshi, as well as a greater selection of food this year. There was no simple way to accurately count the total attendance but a reasonable estimate may be around 2,500 attendees. This year we had the added exposure of media presence with Shaw Cable.
The variety of food was doubled this year and we managed to sell out by 2 PM. We were faced with the challenge of having to serve around 1,500 meals within about a 2-hour time span. This year’s outdoor program featured greetings from the Consul General of Japan and Mayor Nenshi’s office, a play sponsored by the Calgary Gospel Church, a koto performance by Mizue Kaufman, a kimono contest, martial arts demonstrations by Calgary Aikikai, Hiro’s Judo Club, Calgary Kendo Club and Renshinkai Karate Club. Japanese odori was led by the Kotobuki Odori group and Kaede dancers. This year, we added an indoor program which featured the Japanese Tea Ceremony by Dale Rosetti, a Sogetsu Ikebana Study Group display with sensei Keiko Otsuki, and origami demonstration by Yumiko Shukuda.
Additionally there were yukatas from Japan, hand-made crafts by the Kotobuki seniors and children’s games and toys for sale.
The Omatsuri Festival would not have been possible without the extensive efforts of the planning committee, and the 150 volunteers who donated their time. Additionally the support of local sponsors listed provided a tremendous service to all who attended this year’s festival: Japan Foundation, ATCO Gas, Superior Propane, Treadz Auto Group, Canon Canada Inc., City Fish, Foster’s Bakery and Amandine Bakery.
Next year’s Omatsuri Festival promises to be even better, with the committee’s recommendations for improvement. We hope to see you all then.
Taken from the CJCA December 2012 Newsletter – Written by Ted Wada