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SPRINGFIELD, MO – Springfield Sister Cities Association, in partnership with the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, proudly presents the 25th Japanese Fall Festival on Friday-Sunday, September 10-12, 2021, in the beautiful Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden located within the extraordinary Springfield Botanical Gardens at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield, Mo.
Uzumaru, a Yosakoi dance ensemble from San Jose’s Japantown, headlines the festival. Yosakoi is a unique style of dance that blends traditional Japanese choreography with modern and folk music.
Yasu Ishida, storyteller and magician originally from Ube, Japan, returns to the festival for an encore performance. Ishida combines traditional Japanese theatre, music, origami, magic and storytelling to bring the enchanting land of Japan to his audiences.
Favorite performers returning to the festival include St. Louis Osuwa Taiko, ensemble drummers; Kizuna, Springfield’s Japan America Friendship Club; and Tracy’s Kenpo Karate Studios of Southwest Missouri, martial arts demonstrators.
In addition to numerous vendor and artisan booths featuring wares authentic to Japanese culture, guests will enjoy the Nihon bunka taiken tent (Japanese culture experience tent), the omiyage and dagashi tent (souvenirs and snacks tent), and concessions.
The festival offers many cultural opportunities geared toward children, including an activity area featuring traditional Japanese games and crafts led by Japanese language students from Kickapoo High School and Japanese art activities led by the Springfield Regional Arts Council.
Bring your glow sticks and enjoy a hologram projected concert, Miku Matsuri, organized by Springfield Cosplay on Saturday, September 11, at 9 p.m. Cosplay Day is Sunday, September 12; come to the festival in your cosplay (costume role play) to receive $3 admission. In celebration of its 6th anniversary, Springfield Cosplay presents a cosplay showcase featuring Shiny Dreamers at 5 p.m.
Beginning at dusk on Friday and Saturday, September 10 and 11, hundreds of torches light the garden pathways and soft Japanese music fills the air to create a romantic strolling atmosphere. Purchase a wishing lantern and set your dreams afloat on one of the koi ponds.
Festival hours are 5 p.m.-10 p.m. on Friday, September 10; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturday, September 11; and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday, September 12.
Admission for adults is $10 on Saturday, September 11 and $7 on Friday and Sunday, September 10 and 12. Children 12 and younger are $3 on any day. People dressed in cosplay (costume role play) receive a $3 admission price on Sunday, September 12.
Face coverings are recommended at interaction points.
Members of Springfield Sister Cities Association receive free entry all weekend. An annual membership ranges in price from $5 for a student to $50 for a family; join and view additional membership benefits at PeaceThroughPeople.org.
Hundreds of volunteers are needed to work the Japanese Fall Festival; volunteers receive free entry to the festival on the day of their shift. For more information and to sign up, please visit PeaceThroughPeople.org.
Support for the Japanese Fall Festival is provided by Queen City Real Estate Company, Tony and Linda Shalloup, Tom Finnie and Chase.
The Japanese Fall Festival is a celebration of authentic Japanese culture highlightingSpringfield’s 35-year-old sister city relationship with Isesaki, Japan. In typical years, Springfield and Isesaki exchange performers to entertain and share culture at each other’s festivals. These exchanges were cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19.
Springfield Sister Cities Association donates half of the Japanese Fall Festival’s admission proceeds to the maintenance and development of the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden, sponsored by Simmons Bank. The remaining proceeds benefit cultural programs which further Springfield Sister Cities Association’s mission of “Peace Through People.”
For more information regarding the Japanese Fall Festival or Springfield Sister Cities Association, please visit PeaceThroughPeople.org or call 417-874-2962.
For media inquiries, contact Lisa Bakerink, Springfield Sister Cities Association Executive Director, at 417-864-1341; or Jenny Fillmer Edwards, Public Information Administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, at 417-224-5510 (mobile).