SAN FRANCISCO — The children of Nihonmachi Little Friends (NLF), a community-based, non-profit childcare organization, will present their annual theater production and auction, “Dowa no Omatsuri: A Festival of Children’s Stories,” on Sunday, Feb. 23, at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater, 3301 Lyon St. in San Francisco.

Well-known community personalities June-ko Nakagawa and Benh Nakajo will serve as co-hosts for the theater program. Featured will be GenRyu Arts and the students of NLF.

dowa no omatsuri 2014The preschoolers will present their version of the children’s tales of “Omusubi Kororin” and “Sora Iro no Tane.” The elementary school-age children will perform an original story, “DARI’s Dream.”

A silent auction beginning at 12 p.m. in the lobby will precede the 1:30 p.m. show and will feature a special performance of live music by The Shut-Ins, a mostly acoustic combo from San Francisco who specialize in “hula-billy” – a fun blend of country-western, honky-tonk, bluegrass and Hawaiian music.  A raffle and refreshments in the lobby will follow the theater show.

NLF’s school-age program’s performance features choreography by NAGATA Dance, led by Corrine Nagata with Celine Alwyn-Parker and Angela Yuen Uyeda. Nagata’s role as a teacher and contributor to the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American School of Dance, The National Dance Institute with Jacques D’Amboise and the Dance Theater of Harlem prepared her well for teaching all forms of dance and at all levels to a wide variety of students. Her skill, insight and professionalism have been praised at every level.

She is a current member of the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards Committee and is on faculty at LINES Ballet’s Bachelors of Fine Art Program and A.C.T.’s Master’s Degree Program. NAGATA Dance serves nearly a dozen public and private schools in San Francisco, teaching over 400 students weekly.

Kathy Michihira, an NLF board member and parent with the program, described this annual production as “one of the best fundraisers and shows around. It’s definitely one of the highlights of the school year!”

Executive Director Cathy Inamasu added, “This event’s venue provides the perfect backdrop to showcase the creative energy and talents of our teachers, staff, parents, board and members of our greater NLF family. It’s a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with old friends, find incredible auction deals and enjoy memorable performances!”

NLF has been providing quality child care, educational programs and services for preschoolers through elementary school-age children and their families since 1975. Full- and part-day schedules are offered to over 200 children annually with a Japanese bilingual and multicultural emphasis. Through government subsidies and sliding fee scales, affordable services are available to all families.

In addition, NLF has a building fund in place, the Plant a Seed Campaign, to build an addition to its historic 1830 Sutter St. building. This new construction will enable NLF to house all of its preschool-age programs in one permanent facility. More information on this campaign can be found on NLF’s website at

Tickets to the event are $25 in advance (two or more at $20 each), or $30 at the door. Admission is $10 for youth 5 to 17 and free for children 4 and under. Proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit the programs and operations of NLF.  For more information on the event, contact NLF at (415) 922-8898 or

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