2014 / Los Angeles Tanabata Festival set for Aug. 9-11 in Little Tokyo

Los Angeles Tanabata Festival

Los Angeles Tanabata Festival (Photo by Richard Fukuhara)

The sixth Annual Los Angeles Tanabata Festival will be held in conjunction with the Nisei Week Japanese Festival from Aug. 9 – 11 in Little Tokyo.

The festival provides an opportunity to bring together diverse segments of Southern California’s Japanese American community in a fun. The Tanabata kazari, Japanese ornaments up to 7 feet tall, are created by various community groups and organizations to display on the plaza area of the Japanese American National Museum and in front of the Geffen at MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art), near the corner of First Street and Central Avenue in Little Tokyo. Last year, more than 200 kazari were displayed.

The Tanabata kazari viewings with fun programs and events are set for Saturday, Aug. 9, 11am – 7:00 pm; Sunday, Aug. 10, 11 am – 5 pm. On Monday, Aug 11, the kazari will be open to public for viewing without any event.

The opening ceremony will be held on Friday, August 9, at 5 pm, to kick off the festival with an opening sake barrel ceremony by hands of Japanese community dignitaries. The stage program will include Japanese-theme entertainments and the unveiling of this year’s giant kazari which were sent from the 2013 Sendai Tanabata Festival in Japan.  The festival theme in this year is “Wish Upon the Stars.”

Booths for Japanese food, arts and crafts vendors, and a variety of games, will be opened during the weekend of Aug. 9-10 as a part of the Los Angeles Tanabata Festival.

The Annual Los Angeles Tanabata Festival is sponsored by the Little Tokyo Public Safety Association (aka Koban), the Japanese Prefectural Association of Southern California, and the Nisei Week Japanese Festival.

For more information about the Los Angeles Tanabata Festival visit http://www.tanabatalosangeles.org/

call the Little Tokyo Koban at (213) 613-1911, or stop by for a Saturday workshop from 1 pm to 6 pm at the Koban, 307 East First Street, Los Angeles, 90012.

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The Tanabata Festival is inspired by a popular folklore story “The Princess and the Cowherd.” The goddess, the weaver maiden Orihime who wove clothes for the heavenly beings, fell in love with an ox herder named Hikoboshi.

When both of them—too consumed by their mutual love—began to neglect their duties, the gods punished them by turning them into two stars and put them on opposite sides of the Milky Way.

Noting their sadness at being apart, the gods agreed to one conditional respite: that once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month (Tanabata in Japanese), magpies would fly up into the sky and form a bridge across the galaxy, allowing the lovers to reunite for just one day each year.

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