Let’s go fly a kite!

The Japanese Friendship Garden presents a free Children's Festival this Saturday

The sky over Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix will be more colorful than usual this Saturday as kites take to the air during the annual Children’s Festival presented by the Japanese Friendship Garden.

It’s hailed as a combination of the Japanese traditions of Boys’ Day and Girls’ Day — customs which reflect the celebration of children’s health and well-being so important in Japanese culture.

The Children’s Festival takes place April 2 from 10am-3pm, and features all sorts of hands-on activities including anime drawing, face painting, traditional games and arts/crafts related to Japanese culture.

Students from Horizon High School will teach “the secrets of Kendama” (a ball and cup toy requiring great hand-eye coordination) and students from Central High School will demonstrate the art of folding origami cranes.

The Japanese Friendship Garden notes that the paper cranes “will be sent to the Bezos Family Foundation earning $2 each toward Japan relief efforts.”

It’s one of many ways the Japanese Friendship Garden is engaging people in supporting the people of Japan in the aftermath of devastating natural disasters.

Those who attend the event can enjoy “a showcase of colorful koi fish in tanks for an up-close view,” as well as the many koi living in the Garden’s lovely ponds. There’s even a statewide koi competition hosted by the Valley of the Sun Koi Club.

Those of you who prefer dogs will be pleased to know that the Arizona Shiba Inu Association “will have several furry friends on site.”

“Postcards to Japan,” a project coordinated through ON Semiconductor and their facilities in Japan, will “offer local kids the chance to write to Japanese children…offering their own words of encouragement and hope.”

The Japanese Friendship Garden is a truly lovely setting full of winding paths, beautiful stone and other natural materials, calming water features, blossoming flowers and other features that delight the senses of young and old. Enjoy it this Saturday, while the weather is at its finest.

It’s been far too long, I suspect, since your children heard you utter the phrase “Let’s go fly a kite!”

– Lynn

Note: The Children’s Festival takes place at Margaret T. Hance Park, which is adjacent to the Japanese Friendship Garden — so you can easily enjoy both in a single visit.

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