Yatai Festival to Offer Food, Beer, Entertainment, Anime

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Above and below: Food booths and entertainment at last year’s Yatai Festival, held at Gardena Valley JCI. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

Yatai 2017, a Japanese culture and food festival, will be held on Saturday, Sept. 30, from 3 to 9 p.m. on 186th Street between Denker Avenue and Harvard Boulevard in Harbor Gateway.

“Yatai” means “shop stand.” Typically in Japan, temporary shops or vendor stands ares set up in pedestrian walkways, creating a special, energized ambiance for evening festivals. These stands are dismantled at night after the event closes.

In addition to over 25 specialty food and activity stands, the free festival will have a stage with live entertainment, food trucks, anime screenings on a huge outdoor screen, kids’ activities, and a beer garden.

In early summer, members of the 186th Street Neighborhood Watch Committee were approached by representatives of Los Angeles City Councilmember Joe Buscaino of the 15th District. The proposal was to partner with the neighborhood to create a community event highlighting the Japanese American culture within the diverse tapestry that makes up the city. Because Harbor Gateway is home to many long-time residents of Japanese heritage, Buscaino thought the center point of the neighborhood, the length of 186th Street, would be an ideal location.

As the seed for the idea has grown, increased involvement by local businesses, schools, nonprofit organizations and cultural institutions are shaping the Yatai Festival into an exciting, lively event that could draw upwards of 1,500 guests from the greater L.A. area.

Sponsors include Japan Alliance, Councilmember Buscaino, Assemblymember Mike Gipson (District 64), Harbor Gateway South Neighborhood Council, King’s Hawaiian, Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute, Crunchyroll, Sapporo Premium Beer, Storm Properties, and Agena Team.

Follow @YataiFestLA or visit “2017 Yatai Festival” on Facebook.

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