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Altadena Church Festival to Be Held This Saturday

Makoto Taiko performing at Nisei Week’s Taiko Gathering. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

ALTADENA — The Altadena Church Fall Festival will be held on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 3 to 8 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Altadena, 2775 Lincoln Ave. in Altadena (take the Lincoln Avenue offramp and proceed north for about one mile).

An array of cultural entertainment such as kendo, taiko drummers and the Grateful Crane Ensemble awaits residents of the Southern California Japanese American community.

The program begins at 4 p.m. with children’s kendo. Kendo, or “the way of the sword,” is a Japanese martial art that trains the mind and body and cultivates character through one-on one-combat using a bamboo sword. This demonstration will be performed by students from the Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute.

At 4:40 p.m., Makoto Taiko, based in Pasadena, will take the stage. The group’s mission is to unite people of all backgrounds by preserving and sharing the spirit of Japanese taiko drumming through performances, classes and other educational and charitable activities.

Both the children’s kendo and Makoto Taiko drummers performed at last year’s Fall Festival and they are back by popular demand.

The Grateful Crane Ensemble, a well-known theater and music group established in Southern California 16 years ago, will provide a rousing finale to the cultural entertainment at 5:45 p.m. The group recently performed their popular “Camp Dance: The Music and the Memories” at Dearborn, Mich.

According to Soji Kashiwagi, writer of “Camp Dance” and executive director of Grateful Cane, the trip to Dearborn was well worth the time and effort. It brought together representatives of the Muslim American and Japanese American communities in a town hall meeting entitled “Executive Orders – Japanese Internment and the Muslim Ban.”

At the Fall Festival, Keiko Kawashima (singer) and Scott Nagatani (pianist) will perform some of the favorite songs that Nisei, in particular, grew to love during their years in the camps.

In keeping with the cultural aspect of the Fall Festival, Nozomi Jewelry may be purchased throughout the day. Nozomi Jewelry was created by the ladies who survived the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. All proceeds will be given to the Nozomi Jewelry Project in Japan.

There will be a boutique, art exhibit, game booths for children, raffle prizes, and food such as hamburgers, hot dogs, snow cones, sushi, teriyaki chicken bowls and chow mein.

There is no entrance fee and the festival is open to the public. For more information, call (626) 791-4271.

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