Bon Odori dancers, Japan Festival for Peace, AUgust 4, 2018The 8th Annual Bon-Odori Dance Festival For Peace takes place at Kingston Point Beach on Saturday, August 4 from noon to 8 p.m. at Kingston Point Beach. This Japanese festival tradition observes “Obon” from August 13-15, the Buddhist ritual of remembering and reconnecting with ancestors and family. Around that time, community members throughout Japan get together to celebrate “Obon” by dancing “Bon-Odori” together.

Youko Yamamoto, former owner of the authentic Japanese noodle restaurant, Gomen-Kudasai Noodle Escape in New Paltz and proprietor of soon to open Ramen Noodle shop in Kingston, started this traditional summer event in the Hudson Valley after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami resulted in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant meltdown on March 11, 2011. She believes that similar disasters can happen anywhere, any day, and that nuclear energy is the most destructive creation in human history and that today radiation is the greatest threat to our daily lives. After the Fukushima meltdown, Yamamoto decided to start raising awareness of the dangers of radiation. Her unique idea was to popularize the peace movement as an entertaining dance event to make it easier to learn about the kind of harm that radiation can cause, why nuclear bombs should be banned, and what we can do to take a step toward a Nuclear-Free-Future.

Livia and Bill Vanaver, directors of the Vanaver Caravan Dance Company, believe that by dancing together we can provide communities with an opportunity and the energy to unite and set a life goal to build a peaceful future for generations to come. Yamamoto and the Vanavers encourage people to learn about alternative energies, moderate energy consumption, green lifestyles and different cultures as the first step towards this universal goal. A “Let’s talk” discussion table focuses on “Waste” along with community engagement in dance.

Bon-Odori Dance Festival For Peace  is a full day of family fun, including great food, amazing bands and world dancers, local vendors/exhibitors, and learning Japanese culture and history. All will enjoy the “Bon-Odori” dance at 6:30 PM. The Minbuza Japanese Folk Dance Company from NYC and Stuart Paton, Taiko drummer from Burlington Taiko, will lead the dance. A Jodoshinshu Buddhist monk, Kenjitsu Nakagaki, will conduct a special ritual to pray for the victims of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the victims of the Fukushima disaster, to complete the event.

INTERESTED IN BECOMING A VENDOR OR SPONSOR? Any earth-conscious vendors and sponsors are all invited! Ask for your registration form by e-mailing Youko at gomenkudasainy@gmail.comFor updates, visit their Facebook Page, BonOdoriKingston

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