Industrial Fair shares the best Okinawa produces
A three-day Industrial Fair highlighting the very best of everything Okinawa makes, grows or processes begins Friday at Onoyama Park in Naha City.
The 38th annual Okinawa Industrial Festival is set in the sprawling park, where nearly 500 firms and organizations will stage exhibits at the martial arts Okinawa Prefecture Budokan, around the fountain, along the river, nearby the various athletic venues, and along winding paths. A total of 2,800 products will be exhibited.
This year’s focus in healthy living and lifestyles has organizers excited by prospects of local food stalls, companies’ recommended products, regional goodies, plants, clothing, craftworks like pottery and Ryukyu glass all in a single venue. Many will be featuring interesting natural foods, and others even more exotic items. Okinawa is widely known for producing wild healthy products from nature, but that does not mean only foods. For example, Okinawan cosmetics are gaining popularity outside of the prefecture.
Organizers say they’re expecting 200,000+ visitors across the three-day exhibition, which will showcase producers’ eagerness for customers, and consumers looking for new ideas. Okinawa products are gaining influence outside the prefecture, officials say, and they want to further promote the island goods across more of Asia.
The first Okinawa Industrial Festival took place in 1977 to stimulate the economy after the recession that began following the Okinawa International Ocean Expo. All Okinawan industry, including agriculture, manufacturing industry, and service businesses are joining the festival and introducing local items to everyone.
The festival brings together Okinawan cooperation among industry, government and the academic communities and universities. Healthy lifestyle related businesses will be promoted via a panel exhibition, and the Okinawa tourism organizations will be actively pitching and promoting business commerce. There will also be an organization exhibition by middle and small business enterprises.
Organizers say, “When we hear that new products were sold and we receive visitor’s feedback from vendors that please us, or good response from visitors, for example, they say they could find interesting items and they’re waiting for next time, we can feel that it’s worthwhile work. We’d like exhibitors to join the festival as a place to come out with their new products.” The festival runs 10 a.m. ~ 8 p.m. each of the three days.
The exhibition is open to everyone on Okinawa. Admission is free to all venues. Food and beverages cost, as well as souvenirs, foods and other goods purchased from vendors and artists on display.
Onoyama Park is located on the south side of downtown Naha, across from Naha Military Port. Travel south on Highway 58 from the military bases. As you approach the river, Onoyama Park is on the left. Free parking is available at Naha Military Port; look for traffic guides. Shuttle busses will transport visitors to the festival every 15~20 minutes between 8:30 a.m. and 9 p.m.