In the community

Annual Japan Nite Obon Festival draws more than 500 people

ONTARIO – Dancing, drums and lots of fun exemplified the 75th annual Japan Nite Obon Festival, Saturday, June 8, at Four Rivers Cultural Center.

The annual event attracted a large crowd – over 500 people – and showcased traditional Japanese dancing, the Japanese drumming band Sangha Taiko, food and plenty of smiles.

The traditional Japanese event is designed for people to celebrate their ancestors.

The cultural center and the Idaho-Oregon Buddhist Temple collaborated to sponsor the event this year.

The event can trace its roots to the large Japanese American community that first came to the area in the 1920s. That population, though, grew during World War II. That’s when many Japanese Americans – most of them from interment camps – arrived locally to help with sugar beet harvests. Sugar beets – used to create industrial alcohol – were deemed essential to the war effort.

After the war, the Japanese American community stayed and the Japan Nite Obon Festival began as a way to celebrate the rich heritage of Japan.

The event was free.

Members of Sangha Taiko – Taeko D’Andrea, Peter Billings, Spencer Hart, Jeremy Moore Lindsay Moore, Eric Spencer and Michelle Sadamori – a Japanese drumming group, entertains at the Japan Nite Obon Festival on Saturday, June 8, 2024, at the Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario. The group is sponsored by the Idaho-Oregon Buddhist Temple. (ANGIE SILLONIS/Special to the Enterprise)
Jeremy Moore, of Sangha Taiko, a Japanese drumming group, entertains at the Japan Nite Obon Festival on Saturday, June 8, 2024, at the Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario. The group is sponsored by the Idaho-Oregon Buddhist Temple. (ANGIE SILLONIS/Special to the Enterprise)
A youngster listens to Sangha Taiko, a Japanese drumming group, as it performs at the Japan Nite Obon Festival on Saturday, June 8, 2024, at the Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario. The group is sponsored by the Idaho-Oregon Buddhist Temple. (ANGIE SILLONIS/Special to the Enterprise)
The 75th annual Japan Nite Obon Festival offered a little bit for everyone, Saturday, June 8, at Four Rivers Cultural Center. (ANGIE SILLONIS/Special to the Enterprise)
The Japanese culture was the focus at the 75th annual Japan Nite Obon Festival, Saturday, June 8, at Four Rivers Cultural Center. (ANGIE SILLONIS/Special to the Enterprise)
Traditional Japanese dancing was one of the highlights of the 75th annual Japan Nite Obon Festival at Four Rivers Cultural Center, Saturday, June 8. (ANGIE SILLONIS/Special to the Enterprise)
Lindsay Moore, of the Japanese drumming band Sangha Taiko performes at the 75th annual Japan Nite Obon Festival at Four Rivers Cultural Center. (ANGIE SILLONIS/Special to the Enterprise)
The drum sticks were thumping as the Japanese drumming band Sangha Taiko performed at the 75th annual Japan Nite Obon Festival at Four Rivers Cultural Center. (ANGIE SILLONIS/Special to the Enterprise)
Traditional Japanese dancing was featured at the 75th annual Japan Nite Obon Festival at Four Rivers Cultural Center. (ANGIE SILLONIS/Special to the Enterprise)
A good-sized crowd descended on Four Rivers Cultural Center, Saturday, June 8, for the annual Obon Festival. (ANGIE SILLONIS/Special to the Enterprise)
The Japanese drumming band Sangha Taiko finishes a number during its performance at the 75th annual Japan Nite Obon Festival. (ANGIE SILLONIS/Special to the Enterprise)
Japanese culture took center stage at the 75th annual Japan Nite Obon Festival at Four Rivers Cultural Center, Saturday, June 8. (ANGIE SILLONIS/Special to the Enterprise)
There was plenty of fun, dancing and drums at the 75th annual Japan Nite Obon Festival at Four Rivers Cultural Center. (ANGIE SILLONIS/Special to the Enterprise)
There were plenty of smiles for those participating in 75th annual Japan Nite Obon Festival at Four Rivers Cultural Center. (ANGIE SILLONIS/Special to the Enterprise)
Drums, music, kimonos and laughter were all part of the 75th annual Japan Nite Obon Festival at Four Rivers Cultural Center. (ANGIE SILLONIS/Special to the Enterprise)
The Taiko drums added to the atmosphere at the 75th annual Japan Nite Obon Festival at Four Rivers Cultural Center. (ANGIE SILLONIS/Special to the Enterprise)
Japanese decorative lanterns dangled across the ceiling at the 75th annual Japan Nite Obon Festival at Four Rivers Cultural Center, Saturday, June 8. (ANGIE SILLONIS/Special to the Enterprise)
The 75th annual Japan Nite Obon Festival at Four Rivers Cultural Center proved to be a success with a good crowd and plenty of music and traditional Japanese dancing. (ANGIE SILLONIS/Special to the Enterprise)

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