Sonoma County to Celebrate Japanese Culture

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SANTA ROSA — The second annual Matsuri Japanese Arts Festival will take place in Juilliard Park and the SOFA Arts District of Downtown Santa Rosa on Saturday, April 28, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sonoma County Taiko

The growing event, which was attended last year by over 1,200 people and raised $11,000 for survivors of the Japan earthquake/tsunami, is being co-sponsored this year by the City of Santa Rosa, the Sonoma County Japanese American Citizens League, Affinity Solar Energy and Snoopy’s Home Ice.

This year, the Matsuri will welcome Hiroshi Inomata, consul general of Japan in San Francisco, as a special guest.

The free festival will expand this year by setting up a stage in Juilliard Park and offering non-stop Japanese traditional arts entertainment in the form of taiko drumming, traditional dancing and singing, kyogen theater performances and martial arts demonstrations.

Booths will feature food, crafts and more.

The Juilliard Park Japanese Village will offer an Arts & Crafts Avenue presenting Northern California ceramists, wood carvers, basket weavers, clothing designers, printmakers, Japanese antiques, etc., as well as a Japanese Food Court featuring many delicacies from outstanding restaurants and food vendors from all over the Bay Area.

There will be plenty of activities for children, including traditional storytelling, calligraphy, origami, kabuki face-painting by Artstart apprentices, and more.

In addition, there will be ongoing presentations of Japanese tea ceremony as well as exhibits of traditional Japanese arts in the district’s galleries, including crafts and utilitarian objects created in the internment camps during World War II.

Leading up to the Matsuri, there will be concerts of traditional Japanese music at The Backstreet Gallery and Church of One Tree.

“This is a rare opportunity to experience the richness and spirit of authentic traditional Japanese culture,” stated local artist Mario Uribe, who instigated the event four years ago and is president of the organizing committee. “Our event last year was such a success that other organizations wanted to partner with us this year. It’s amazing how many people want to participate. This is also a welcomed opportunity for the large Japanese American community in the Bay Area to share their culture with the rest of us. The Matsuri promises to grow into a premier festival for Santa Rosa and Sonoma County.”

There will be fundraising raffles of merchandise and experiences donated by local businesses and patrons. All proceeds go toward scholarships to schools and students for educational projects related to Japanese arts.

For more information, call (707) 303-5925 or visit www.sonomamatsuri.org.

Entertainment Schedule

Julliard Park Main Stage

11 a.m.: Opening with Sonoma County Taiko

11:10 a.m.: Welcome and introductions emcee Chris Smith

11:15 a.m.: Opening remarks by Consul General Hiroshi Inomata

11:20 a.m.: Sonoma County Taiko

12:15 p.m.: Kyogen plays and dance by Theatre of Yugen

1:15 p.m.: Traditional folk music and dance Ensohza Minyoshu

2:15 p.m.: Demonstration by DeLeon Judo Club

2:45 p.m.: Kagura: traditional Shinto chant and drumming by Ten Ten Taiko

3 p.m.: Demonstration by Cotati Aikido

3:30 p.m.: Ten Ten Taiko

3:45 p.m.: Finale with Ten Ten Taiko and Sonoma County Taiko

4 p.m.: Raffle and closing

On the Lawn of Juilliard Park

1 and 2 p.m.: Karate demonstration by Martial Arts Academy

Uribe Backstreet Gallery

11:30 a.m.: Traditional Japanese songs by Elliot Kallen and Takashi Sugimoto

12:30 p.m.: Shakuhachi and koto by Elliot Kallen and Naoko

1:15 p.m.: Elliot Kallen and Friends

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