Edmonds putting out red carpet for Sister City delegation

Oct 24, 2013

Like a successful marriage, Edmonds and its sister City, Hekinan, Japan, have found the secret to a long-lasting relationship. The two cities are celebrating their silver anniversary this year.

A 37-member delegation from Hekinan will visit here beginning next week – the first delegation since 2008 – and Edmonds is pulling out all the stops.

Carolyn LaFave, Executive Assistant in the Mayor’s Office and liaison to the Edmonds Sister City Commission, said a full schedule of activities for the visitors will keep them busy throughout their visit from Tuesday, Oct. 29, until their departure on Monday, Nov. 4.

Some of the delegates will stay at Edmonds Harbor Inn, while others will stay with host families in town.

Residents will have opportunities to meet the visitors, beginning with a free Cultural Fair slated from 10-3 Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 4th Ave. N.

According to Kay Vreeland of the Sister City Commission, the morning program, beginning at 11 a.m., will feature several beautiful traditional Japanese dance performances, with accompaniment from taiko drums, Japanese flute, shamisen stringed instrument and folk instruments.

The Edmonds Olympic ballet will perform from 12:30 p.m.

Then, from 1:40 p.m., traditional Japanese street performances, including screen-juggling and the story-telling of Rakugo, will enchant the audience, followed by a community sing-along in English with the Hekinan Delegation of the Japanese song, "Flowers will Bloom."

During the entire day, there will be lobby booths, and you can wear Japanese kimono and have your photo taken, as well as enjoy traditional Japanese tea tasting and crafts-making with our Hekinan friends.

There will also be a photography exhibition featuring the work of award-winning Hekinan photographer Kiyotaka Sugiura.

You can browse the Japanese world throughout the lobby, purchase a beverage or a snack from the concession, and have a view of traditional Japan from the stage of the ECA all during this one day.

According to LaFave, the Japanese are also huge fans of Halloween, so they will be out in force – and reportedly in original and delightful costumes – during the City’s annual Halloween Festival downtown.

You can get Japanese candy from the Hekinan booth in front of City Hall, and see the Japanese scarecrow they are bringing from Japan.

A special performance involving locals and visitors alike is rumored to occur without warning sometime during the celebration between 5-7 p.m.

Mayor Dave Earling also will read and present a 25th anniversary proclamation to Hekinan Mayor Masanobu Negita and the delegates at 7 p.m. during the Oct. 29 City Council meeting.

The delegation will otherwise be plenty busy attending events with members of the Edmonds commission and other dignitaries. Activities will include dinners and receptions, walking tours of Edmonds sites, visits to Edmonds Community College, Swedish Cancer Center, the Seattle Center, the Everett Boeing plant, and shopping and sightseeing opportunities.

Mayor Earling, who had the opportunity to visit Hekinan as a member of an Edmonds delegation, said the two cities are different, yet very much alike.

They are both coastal cities, but Hekinan has about twice the population of Edmonds, and its ties to its industrial base are evident along its waterfront.

Still, Earling said, “Theirs in an incredibly warm culture.”

You can see many photos of the preparations going on in Edmonds and Hekinan on the Sister City Facebook Page (you do not have to join Facebook to see the photos and read the posts).

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