Where can you dance in the streets with over 1,000 people? Where can you have delicious teriyaki beef and chicken, tasty sushi and chirashi rice, and hot, scrumptious dango? Where can you play carnival games or bingo?

If you said Gardena Buddhist Church Obon Festival, you’re correct! Mark your calendars! This year, the Obon Festival will be on Saturday, Aug. 10, from 3 to 10 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 11, from 3 to 9 p.m. at 1517 W. 166th St. in Gardena.

This year, we are excited to have special booths at the Obon. The first one is a photo booth based on some newly discovered Ninomiya Photo studio Archives. Ninomiya Photo Studio was a business located in Little Tokyo from 1949 to 1970. This collection contains over 100,000 prints and negatives documenting the L.A. Japanese American community. The photo booth will have the appearance of a historical photo studio where you can take selfies.

The second special booth is called “Passing Forward Our Treasures,” where there will be many unique items for sale. Some are new and some are gently used. Come and take a look!

Of course, the highlight of the festival is the Obon dancing, which starts at 6 p.m. both nights. The beautiful kimonos and happi coats, the graceful waving of the fans and the clicky-clacky sounds of the kachi-kachis are all things that should not to be missed.

This year, there are the classic dances, such as “Tanko Bushi” or “Obon Oori Uta,” the livelier dances such as “Shiawase Samba” or “Ichi Tasu Ichi,” and even a fun dance called “Pokemon Ondo.” Everyone is welcome to join in!

Gardena’s Obon Festival is the last Obon of the season. Hope you can join us!

For more information, call (310) 327-9400, email otera.office@gardenabuddhistchurch.org or visit www.gardenabuddhistchurch.org.

— Sharyl Yamada-Oda

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