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Arts and Entertainment

Japanese Fall Festival is Today Through Sunday in Springfield

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/japanesefa_5145.mp3

The Springfield Sister Cities Association presents the 14th Annual Japanese Fall Festival today through Friday. But something will be missing from this year’s event. KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has more…

When the Japanese Fall Festival opens tonight (9/11) at the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden at Nathanael Greene Park, an annual tradition will be missing: having visitors here from Springfield’s sister city Isesaki, Japan.Cindy Jobe is the Festival’s coordinator…

"It's really disappointing to all of us, not just because of the entertainament they always provide, but they are the reason we started this event. However, whenever they were signing up performers to come, you know, they have tryouts and stuff, folks that are interested in coming, and when they were going through that process is when the swine flu scare hit, and their federal government was issuing travel advisories and what not just like ours was, and they basically felt like it would not be right to force a group to come under those circumstances."

But there will be plenty to see and do at this year’s festival. The event kicks off at 5:30 tonight with a parade of local schoolchildren. After the parade, a Japanese storyteller will take the stage. But as Jobe explains, she’s not just ANY storyteller…

"You know, you get in your head a picture of a storyteller. She is really an amazing lady to watch. She was a regular performer at Disney World. There's costumes and illusions and masks and magic all as part of her stories."

The festival will also feature other entertainers including an expert candy art designer and a traditional Japanese top spinner, 29 vendors and artisan booths, a children’s hands-on area and a Taiko drumming group. Each evening ends with a candlelight walk.Hours for the Japanese Fall Festival are 5:30 to 10 tonight (9/11) and 11 am to 10 pm tomorrow and Sunday (9/12-9/13). Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children 12 and younger. Anyone two and under gets in free.For more information, visit www.parkboard.org or call 864-1049.For KSMU News, I’m Michele Skalicky.