SAN FRANCISCO — The 41st annual Nihonmachi Street Fair will be held Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 2 and 3, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in San Francisco Japantown, Post Street between Fillmore and Laguna streets.
Last year the Nihonmachi Street Fair celebrated a milestone, reaching its 40th year. In a city that prides itself on street fairs, the Nihonmachi Street Fair seeks to celebrate more than its Japanese American roots – it invites and encourages the inclusion of diverse interests, both Asian and non-Asian-Pacific-based.
Back in 1973, the Nihonmachi Street Fair was hatched as an idea to provide leadership and mentorship opportunities for the youth of J-Town and to honor the Japanese American cultural heritage. As the city’s diversity and cultural awareness has grown, so has the street fair’s focus.
The Nihonmachi Street Fair considers itself the original “melting pot” of street fairs, with many aspects of Asian Pacific American life — and San Francisco’s cultural life — expressed through performance, tradition, art, music, food, and community outreach and service. The formula must work since the organizers estimated that over 30,000 guests participated in the 2013 event.
As in years past, the Nihonmachi Street Fair will once again be a showcase for local and uniquely San Francisco talent and entertainment that spans cultural and generational genres: taiko, hip-hop, salsa, rock, jazz, and more on two anchor stages.
The Nihonmachi Street Fair evolves to reflect the city it celebrates while staying true to its original idea: to use this event as a platform to mentor Asian Pacific American youth and foster their leadership and communication skills through volunteerism and community service. The event is produced, staffed, and organized by youth volunteers, thus providing practical, hands-on experience in collaboration, entrepreneurship, and problem-solving.
The Nihonmachi Street Fair is proud of its history of serving the community through education, service, and youth mentorship. As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, it receives a grant from the San Francisco Grants for the Arts Program but must rely on income generated through advertising revenue and sponsorship to underwrite fees, expenses, and logistical costs associated with producing this annual community celebration.
This year’s event will feature:
• Children’s World, an interactive area for families and their young children with Asian- inspired crafts and a focus on fun and games.
• Asian Artisans Area, featuring a wide variety of artistic talent from all over the Bay Area. From traditional raku ceramics, bonsai, Hawaiian-inspired beef jerky and much more. An eclectic showcase of creativity.
• Doggie World, now in its third year, a gathering place for the four-legged members of our community to join in on the fun. Local animal experts and adoption agencies will also be on hand to offer tips and information. Proceeds from the Doggie World Parade will be donated to the San Francisco Friends of Animal Care & Control and local rescue organizations.
• Entertainment on the Webster Street Stage and Clear Channel Outdoor Stage, showcasing Asian and Pacific American performing artists from the Bay Area and beyond. The Nihonmachi Street Fair entertainment is the best ticket in town to see veteran and up-and-coming artists. Don’t miss the traditional Chinese lion dance, Hawaiian halau (dance) groups, taiko performances, Japanese dance, R&B, rap, jazz, rock and more. This year the Nihonmachi Street Fari welcomes long-time supporter, past “Aloha by the Bay” performer, and two-time Grammy nominee Nathan Aweau, who will perform on the Clear Channel Outdoor Stage on Sunday, Aug. 3, at 4 p.m.
• Sounds of Thunder Car Show, featuring muscle cars and vintage trucks (new this year).
• Northern California Adult Co-Ed Basketball Tournament (new this year).
• Food Fest with dishes created by non-profit community organizations. Favorites include Kimochi’s teriburgers.
“The Nihonmachi Street Fair is a community celebration that brings together the diverse APA communities and applauds the many non-profit organizations that provide important programs and services to our families,” organizers said. “It is a place where artists and musicians can showcase their talent and be a launch pad for up-and-coming individuals and groups.
“We are an organization that sees the importance of our youth and provides an opportunity for them to volunteer, be a part of the planning process and become the leaders of tomorrow.”