Every August, usually on a Saturday afternoon, the Edanishi local community holds a summer festival at a nearby primary school ground. Last year, it fell on Saturday, August 20. Because of the aftershock of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the northern part of Japan facing the Pacific Ocean on March 11th that year, there was a plausible argument for not doing a summer festival at all; but in the end we decided to carry it out. Life must go on.
As president of the 2011 Edanishi-5Chome residents’ association, I was one of the organizers for this event; from this perspective, I have prepared some notes on what we did.
The summer festival is intended to foster “hometown sentiment” for not only our kids but also for their parents as well who have all moved into the Edanishi district, which is a relatively new residential area. Thus, our summer festival is literally called “hometown festival”.
How do you enjoy it? Well, there are basically three activities during the festival: firstly, some performances at the so-called center stage, like a brass band performance, Japanese folk dancing and so on, then secondly, food stands for ice cream, soft drinks, fried sausages, yakitori, fried squid, draft beer (indeed), among others, and thirdly, some games for kids and a lottery open to all resident association members who can try their luck to get the top prize, which was a bicycle last year.
How is it managed? Last year, a steering committee was set up among 7 local residents’ associations including ours, a local primary school and a local junior high school. Based on the discussion of this committee, our Edanishi 5Chome association took up a dual task (which was identical to the year before): one to operate a food stand for ice cream and soft drinks, another to set up a team that will keep the festival venue, including school toilets, clean and tidy.
Was it a success? It happened to be a cloudy day (we did have rain towards the end of the day), so our food stand in particular experienced some difficulties in selling our stuff, but by the end we had managed to sell everything, thanks to the discounts that we were forced to make. Other than that, I think it was a success, judging from the many happy faces that I had noticed as shown in the photos below.
After the festival, the committee had completed a comprehensive manual for organizing and executing the festival, which will be a great help for the incoming committee members this year.
What about this coming festival? One particular agenda item that the new steering committee has to decide upon is what time to start and to end the festival. Usually, it is from 3 to 7pm. But last year was an exception, it was one hour earlier: from 2 to 6pm (ending before getting dark) because of the electricity shortage as a consequence of the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami damage to the nuclear power stations in Fukushima prefecture.
My wish list? I would like to see more volunteers, especially young people, who can actively participate in the festival by joining the steering committee or setting up their own food stands, gaming stands and so on. A rock festival? I will stop here.
Our food stand selling ice cream and soft drinks for 100 yen a piece.
Our association oversaw that each food stand had prepared 3 garbage boxes: one for garbage to be burnt, the second one for plastic and the third one for plastic bottles. Our stand had a fourth box for bottle caps.