Tag Archives: Margaret T. Hance

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.

Coming up: Definition of a dream


Hope and remembrance

The Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix invites the public to join in a special day of hope and evening of remembrance this Saturday, March 26.

A free “Garden Open House” begins at 10am at the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix, located in Margaret T. Hance Park at 1125 N. 3rd Ave.

Garden visitors will have the opportunity to fold origami paper cranes, a Japanese symbol of hope, or leave written notes on garden “wish trees” — thereby “sending thoughts and prayers through the wind and across the globe.”

Musicians are welcome to bring acoustic instruments for “brief interludes of music” throughout the day.

A “Remembrance Service” will be conducted starting at 6pm that evening — to “honor the victims” of recent tragedies in Japan “through words and music.”

A ceremonial song called “Banshiki,” which is meant to “assist the soul on its journey,” will be played by Bobby Avstreih on the Japanese Shakuhachi (bamboo flute).

A “Toro Nagashi” (floating lantern) will be lit and set adrift while attendees begin a silent candlelight procession around the garden’s peaceful one acre koi pond.

The Japanese Friendship Garden is waiving its admission fee for Sat, Mar 26 — but invites members of the public to make donations to various relief agencies while attending the event.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about how you can remember and honor victims of Japan’s recent earthquake and tsunami.

Coming up: Remembering an American tragedy

Photo: Lynn Trimble

Get a Q!

When the morning news turned too vitriolic last week, I knew just who to turn to — Elmo. The furry little puppet with the ever-happy face never fails to cheer.

But I’ll be enjoying puppets of another sort today as Lizabeth and I head out to see Phoenix Theatre’s production of “Avenue Q” — a Broadway musical with mature content and “full puppet nudity” you might not want to share with your little ones.

There are tons of competing activities out there this weekend — from the Scottsdale Arts Festival to the Ostrich Festival in Chandler. I’m making my choice about what to hit based on where the teen taxi takes me.

Lizabeth has a volunteer gig with “QSpeak” this afternoon, so I’ll be taking her there before heading out for a few art adventures of my own. Then we’ll meet back at Phoenix Theatre for the matinee performance of “Avenue Q.”

I’ll need to be quick, however, because there are quite a few things I’m eager to experience — including today’s “Devoured” event at the Phoenix Art Museum, just a short stroll from Phoenix Theatre.

Then I’m off to enjoy the quaint and quiet grounds of the Japanese Friendship Garden, where I’ll take some photos to share with you later as I preview their upcoming events — including the “Children’s Day Kite Festival” and “Zen Garden Music and Art Festival.”

Next I’ll experience some quintessential Irish fare at the Arizona Irish Festival, also taking place downtown. Think Irish food, music, dance and all-around merriment — plus another opportunity to whip out my camera.

If I haven’t yet inspired you to get out and enjoy the Arizona sunshine, perhaps you’ll find something else that strikes your fancy by browsing through today’s family-friendly events listed in the online calendar from Raising Arizona Kids magazine.

I suppose I should quit now and get on with my plans — quixotic though they may be. I certainly don’t want to quibble with my teenage daughter over whether or not the teen taxi will be running on time today.

— Lynn

Note: I came home with lots of photos, some of which are included in a slide show at the end of this post (“Avenue Q” logo courtesy of Phoenix Theatre). Watch for another post coming soon with some of the many adorable children who attended this year’s Arizona Irish Festival — as well as a future post with more highlights from the Japanese Friendship Garden.

Coming up: Charlie Sheen “is only for now”

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Free Arts & free arts

“Free” and “arts” — Add the word “children” and you might just have three of the most appealing things on the planet (at least for those lucky enough to enjoy the luxuries of shelter, food and clean water).

Previous "Don Quixote" performance (Harrison Hurwitz Photography)

You can enjoy them all this Sunday, Sept 19, at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts — when Dance Theater West’s student company (Storybook Ballet) presents “Don Quixote: A Free Arts Day.”

The 1pm-1:45pm atrium performance, which is free and open to the public, will feature dancers from the “Don Quixote” multi-disciplinary art program offered at Free Arts of Arizona in collaboration with Dance Theater West. Free Arts notes that they have 14 youth, including boys and girls from about 12 to 15, performing on Sunday.

"Don Quixote" with Dance Theater West (Harrison Hurwitz Photography)

The performance, and reception that follows from 1:45pm-3pm, showcase what the two groups have achieved together through professional dance workshops that “invite youth to experience new avenues and possibilities that they might not know exist in the performing arts.”

I recall my daughters dancing in a Dance Theater West “Les Mis” summer camp performance many years ago in this same atrium. It’s a bright, lovely space with plenty of room for children and others to sit and enjoy the offerings.

Just RSVP to info@freeartsaz.org if you can so they’ll have a rough idea of how many to expect for the event.

My daughters also enjoyed many a cultural festival featuring the song, dance, history and art of other countries — including Ireland, India and Japan.

Chinese Cultural Center event

I’ll be sure and alert them to Saturday’s free “Mid-Autumn/Moon Festival” taking place from 6:30pm-9pm at the Chinese Cultural Center near Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. It’s an opportunity for all ages to celebrate this Chinese tradition with moon cakes, live entertainment, demonstrations and other activities.

If you’re reading this post Friday morning, you may still have time to get over to the Edna Vihel Center in Tempe for “Free Art Friday“–featuring art projects, music and movement for preschoolers (plus snack) and their parents. It’s being held from 9am-11am, and is one of many family-friendly events presented by the City of Tempe. (Another cool find: Tempe’s “Public Art Walking Tour.”)

Japanese Friendship Garden event

More weekend events and activities — including several involving live theater for youth and families — are noted in Raising Arizona Kidsonline calendar. But read on for some of my favorite events taking place during the week…

The Japanese Friendship Garden, located at Margaret T. Hance Park near downtown Phoenix, will celebrate the United Nations’ “International Day of Peace” with “Sunrise Yoga” including Sun salutations and more from 6am-8:30am on Tuesday, Sept 21. Participate (with yoga mat or blanket and comfy clothes) or just “enjoy the beauty of the morning.”

Remember too that places like the the Japanese Friendship Garden (Ro Ho En), Desert Botanical Garden and Phoenix Zoo make great locations for wandering with sketch pad and pencils/pastels (or camera) in tow.

Sunrise at the Japanese Friendship Garden

Finally, check out the “Fall Faculty Concert” this week at the South Mountain Community College Storytelling Institute. The institute is “one of only a handful of academic programs in the nation to focus on the ancient art of storytelling.”

The concert — which takes place Wednesday, Sept 22,  at 7pm (at the SMCC Performance Hall) — features “a variety of intriguing and entertaining tales from a diverse array of cultures” presented by five members of the college’s storytelling institute. Maricopa Community College students (with student ID) can attend at no charge, and general admission tickets are just $10.

If you’re especially excited about a family-friendly event taking place this weekend or during the week ahead, feel free to comment below to let fellow readers know.

— Lynn

Note: The Franciscan Renewal Center and The Arizona Peace Alliance present a “Peace Ceremony” on Tuesday, Sept 21, from 6pm-8:30pm at the center, to include music, dance, inspirational messages, an aerial group photo (people stnding together to spell the word “peace”) and winnings works from a peace-themed art/writing contest for youth.

Coming up: The fine art of fences, Finding peace in art