“O Matsuri EH!”
by Ted Wada
Together, we have completed another very successful Japanese Festival, Omatsuri-2017. The August weather was perfect, the crowd was enthusiastic, the entertainment was exciting, the food was delicious and well managed, the cultural demonstrations were interesting, the market was full of people, and the kids’ corner was popular all day. I’ve heard from more than several people that this was the best organized festival anywhere. What a wonderful compliment that was given to all of you!
The success of the festival is dependent on volunteer commitment, the organizing committee spent months planning and re-planning from the top to the bottom, examining the finest details to make sure all guests go home with a positive experience. Again, as I mention every year, it is you – all volunteers, planning committee members, set-up crews on Thursday and Friday, team leaders and workers on festival day, those who stayed after the festival for take-down, clean-up crew on Sunday and Monday, fascinating and talented entertainers and cultural demonstrators; that the Omatsuri’s success truly belongs to.
This year’s special guests from out of town included: the Ainu art project, all the way from Hokkaido just for our Omatsuri, a courtesy of the Consulate-General of Japan, Minyo dancers and Hibikiya drummers from Lethbridge, last minute guest drummers from Edmonton. Festival entertainment was well rounded out with many local talents. All were greatly appreciated. The artistic cultural demonstrations such as flower arrangements, traditional calligraphy and kimono demonstrations, etc. were true highlights of the indoor entertainment.
Sake-Gami organized and donated the Kagami-Biraki opening ceremony, as they have done every year, another highlight on the outdoor stage.
We had wonderful support from the City of Calgary, The Max Bell management and staff, the Consulate-General of Japan and the numerous cash and in-kind sponsors. Some of our donors upped their donations this year in spite of the current economic conditions in our city. We truly appreciate their generosity.
By now, all of us volunteers have become quite familiar with some of the committee members, but two names stand out among them, Ruth Nagata, who contacted every one of you; and Doug Ohama, who mapped out every inch of the Max Bell Centre many times over and arranged for necessary equipment. Thank you very much, both of you. And of course thank you, each and every one of you, for all that you have done for this great community of ours. Please enjoy this short 2 minute 30 second video created by Ryan Logan from this year’s festival: https://youtu.be/rbN25llZ8V8