Samba music through the streets of Okinawa?
That will be the case for at least one weekend when the International Carnival kicks off Nov. 24 in Okinawa City.
The two-day event will feature a parade on “Koza Gate Dori (Route 20)” a.k.a. Gate 2 Street starting 2:15 p.m. and will be followed by samba and other stage performances at the music town.
This year, a large float from a 260-year-old festival in Yamagata Prefecture will join the parade. Just like those used in Rio de Janeiro, which take the form of a football or a large bird, the colorful structure adorned with traditional Japanese dolls is expected to add an intriguing cultural layer to program.
The festivity continues after dark with Eisa dancing and a game of tug-of-war. The tug-of-war will feature Okinawans and Americans pulling on a 262-foot rope that weighs eight tons.
Otaku Fest, an event dedicated to pop culture, will take place at and around the music town, and will feature cosplay photo ops and video game tournaments.
The excitement this carnival brings will then spill over into the following day.
Under the title, Gate 2 Festa, a different set of entertainment is lined up for Sunday.
A motorcycle parade and exhibition showcasing 300 vehicles, street basketball competitions, juggling acts, and live music that will include a performance by the III MEF band are some of the highlights.
For both days, traffic on and around the Gate 2 Street will be regulated between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. Take a walk from the Gate 2 will be a good way to enjoy this event.
Every year, Americans are a big part of the festivities, which are a great way to support the diverse Okinawa City.
The International Carnival in Okinawa City/Gate 2 Festa
Date: Nov. 24 (Carnival), Nov. 25 (Gate 2 Festa)
Time: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Nov. 24); 12:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Nov. 25)
Location: Gate 2 Street and Koza Music Town and neighboring areas