By Debby Abe
TACOMA, WASH. – Get ready for Japanese folk dance, food and fun at the Tacoma Bon Odori on Saturday, Aug. 3.
The popular street festival will feature dozens of dancers wearing colorful yukata and other traditional garb as they perform folk dances in the street. Everyone is welcome to join in.
The free outdoor fest starts at 5 p.m. at the Tacoma Buddhist Temple, three blocks up the hill from the University of Washington Tacoma.
For a special highlight, drum groups Matsuri Taiko, of Seattle, and Fuji Taiko, of Tacoma, will perform. A group of Tacoma Community College students will also perform a special dance.
Festival-goers can enjoy a variety of foods, including: teriyaki chicken bowls, unagi (eel) bowls, chili bowls, hot dogs, refreshingly cold somen noodles, Spam musubi (rice cakes) and mugi cha (barley tea). Sweets will include: daifuku mochi (rice pastry), strawberry mochi, kori shave ice and homemade pie. Vegetarian and gluten-free foods will be available.
Adults 21 and older can quench their thirst in a beer garden.
The Bon Odori festival, also called Obon, is a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist celebration to honor our ancestors. It is a time to reflect upon the lives of departed loved ones who made our lives possible. A candlelight memorial service will close the event in the temple garden.
Practice sessions to learn the Obon dances will be July 16, 17 and 18, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the temple social hall. The public is invited.
Tacoma Bon Odori 2013
Where: Tacoma Buddhist Temple, 1717 S. Fawcett Ave., Tacoma, WA 98402
When: Saturday, Aug. 3, 5 to 9 p.m.
Dance Practice: Learn the Obon dances
When: Tuesday, July 16; Wednesday, July 17; & Thursday, July 18; 7:30 to 9 each evening.
Where: Tacoma Buddhist Temple social hall
More info: www.tacomabt.org or call the temple at 253-627-1417.