Okinawa International Carnival highlights international heritage of Koza
The Okinawa City International Carnival takes place on Saturday, Nov. 25th, and Sunday 26th, in areas around Gate 2 Street, Koza Music Town and Chuo Park Avenue. Admission to all events is free.
The International Great Tug-of-War, a carnival parade and The Samba Queen stage are the high points for Saturday. Although the rope is smaller at the International Carnival tug-of-war than in the big Naha event, the fun is at least as big. The tug-of-war is open to all to take part, although young children should be kept clear of the rope.
The first day of the International Carnival also features an international parade with participants from various countries, including the United States and Philippines, presenting their cultures through performances.
This year, the “Otaku Festival” a special event for anime lovers featuring special performances is taking place in front of Koza Box and Music Town on both days.
Motorcycle riders from all over the island will assemble on Gate 2 Street on Sunday. The street will be closed to traffic and packed with some 200 bikes for the occasion. The annual Gate 2 Festival gathers more than 200 rumbling — and somewhat loud — Harley Davidson motorcycles on the street. The motorcycles stage a parade that takes place at 1 p.m., Sunday, blending the cultures of Okinawa, the United States and bikers of other nations into one fun Sunday afternoon.
A rock concert and dance performance are also in the Sunday program. There will be plenty of food vendors and souvenir stands available to spectators, each offering a specialty unique to Okinawa, America, or some other country. There will be plenty of games and activities for children, as well.
Organizers remind the public that streets and roadways in the area will be subject to traffic restrictions during the weekend event. They encourage people to park a distance away, because parking in the immediate Chuo Park Ave. and Gate 2 Street areas is mostly prohibited. All of Gate 2 Street, a.k.a. Highway 20, between Goya Crossing and Hwy 23 overpass will be closed 10 a.m. ~ 9 p.m. both days. Saturday one lane on Route 330 is closed 2 p.m. ~ 4 p.m., as well as part of Culture Center Street will be closed 1 ~ 4 p.m.