SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Springfield Sister Cities Association held the 27th annual Japanese Fall Festival this weekend, celebrating and teaching about Japanese culture.
“Our kids are running around here having a good time,” said Bob Lynch, a festival attendee. “And we just enjoy the weather and the people and the overall atmosphere.”
From traditional Japanese dances and bonsai trees to the gardens and sumo wrestlers, the Japanese fall festival brings many opportunities to experience the country’s culture.
“It’s a celebration of not only Japanese culture,” said Lisa Bakerink, Executive Director of the Springfield Sister Cities Association. “But of our 37-year-old sister city relationship with Isesaki, Japan.”
Bakerink said this festival is one of the ways Springfield learns about their sister city.
“We have the beautiful Mizumoto Japanese stroll gardens, and we have a sister city in Japan,” Bakerink said. “So it just seemed like a natural thing to begin to have a Japanese festival where people could learn more about the culture and the sister city.”
The festival is held in the Mizumoto Japanese gardens every year.
“I think was really nice to go around and to be able to see like all the traditional, like Japanese, like plants and everything,” said Mirielle Strobel, who was at the festival. “And, you know, it’s even grown here and the ponds and everything is just very beautiful.”
Families can learn about the culture through displays of origami, traditional Japanese candy making and more.
“So just we want to get people out and get them exposed to all of this amazing culture right here in Springfield,” Bakerink said. “You don’t have to leave Springfield to experience culture.”
“We do have a lot of people who enjoy a cosplay activity and we have people who enjoy the Japanese culture and Asian culture,” Lynch said. “And I think it is something that is magnificent that pulls everyone together in a safe environment, and that’s something that you don’t get a lot in other places.”
The last day of the festival is Sunday, Sep. 9 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.