• 2022/02/07
  • ストーリー

Ⅸ. Matsuri – Celebrations and Commemorations Across Kyushu

Ⅸ. Matsuri – Celebrations and Commemorations Across Kyushu

By:  Vicki L. Beyer


Most people familiar with Japan will recognize the word “matsuri”, but are often a bit unsure of exactly what it means. According to one of the priests at Kirishima Jingu shrine, originally a matsuri was any Shinto observance. By this definition, it’s possible to maintain that there are daily matsuri at most Shinto shrines. However, for most Japanese the concept of matsuri seems to have evolved. Matsuri, these days, is any large, usually shrine-based, event that involves broad community participation. In other words, a festival. 


Matsuri are often wild, fun spectacles to watch or even, in some cases, to join in. Many have centuries of tradition behind them, and yet they remain current and popular. As Waseda University Professor Emeritus Sakuji Yoshida very aptly put it, “Matsuri are treasures of Japanese culture.”


Some matsuri are tied to a particularly significant date, becoming part  of the annual cycle of life. Celebrations like New Year’s, Setsubun, and the vernal and autumnal equinoxes are examples of this. Additionally, there are matsuri that developed based on an event that the community wants to commemorate, usually on an annual basis. These matsuri are largely centered on gratitude: giving thanks for things like a good harvest, the end of an epidemic, or for victory in battle. Sometimes the matsuri are more forward-looking, an event to petition the gods for luck or future success or to be spared from natural disasters.


Historically most villages did not keep records about their matsuri. The rituals involved were often meant to be secret and it was enough that the traditions were passed from parent to child. In modern times, more records are kept and the outside world knows much more about how matsuri proceed. At the same time, it is likely that certain practices have evolved or been lost over the years due to the lack of records.


Most traditional shrine-based matsuri have three central elements: kami-oroshi, kami-asobi and kami-okuri. Kami-oroshi means bringing the god down. The idea is that humans call upon the god or gods of the shrine to join them on earth for the duration of the matsuri.Priests handle this invocation, which sometimes involves transferring the god from the inner sanctum of the shrine building into a portable shrine called o-mikoshi that devotees will carry around the community (think of it as allowing the god to make house calls), forming a parade.


Kami-asobi means playing with the god. This is the crux of the matsuri. It might include parading with the o-mikoshi, but it may also include music, dancing, and other revelry. In some cases, someone in the community trains to perform a specific dance or performance, often wearing a mask. By taking such a role the volunteer(s) effectively becomes the god for the duration of the performance. It's all about pageantry and performance. In the case of some matsuri, the revelry can get pretty wild and it is quite a spectacle to watch.


Besides entertaining the gods through music or dancing, food offerings are also important. Food offerings are usually comprised of umi no sachi (bounty of the sea) and yama no sachi (bounty of the land), an ancient tradition with its roots in Japan’s origin legends (see “Spiritual Island”). Two of the sons of Ninigi, the god sent to earth by his grandmother, Amaterasu, came to be known as Umi no sachi (Hoderi) and Yama no sachi (Hoori). Since all food is either from the land or from the sea, it makes sense to pay homage to these two gods who are responsible for ensuring nutrition. Umi no sachi offerings are usually fish, and sometimes seaweed, while yama no sachi offerings are predominately vegetables, perhaps with some fruit or grain. Once upon a time, game meat was also a common offering, but from 675AD, meat was prohibited. There are a number of reasons for this, including the Buddhist reluctance to kill animals and the Shinto mandate against spilling blood. Additionally, as Japan was trying to catch up to China and emulate Chinese influences during this period, there was a strong desire by Japanese officials to discourage hunting and promote agricultural endeavors. While none of this is relevant today, the make-up of the offerings is a tradition that has survived social evolution.


Kami-okuri means sending off the god. It is the last stage of the festival when the god returns home and normal life resumes. This part of the matsuri may be quite subdued, even sad, and often not even visible to the general public. For matsuri participants it is an important final step in the festivities.


Perhaps because of the long period when Shinto and Buddhism co-existed and were even practiced as a single religion, most Buddhist matsuri practices are similar, although there is no o-mikoshi in Buddhist-based matsuri.


One aspect of ensuring that festivals survive down the generations is that there is often a small sized o-mikoshi, as well as a larger o-mikoshi, so before the main parade there is a children's parade as well. This allows children to absorb the events of a matsuri and gain an interest in perpetuating them from an early age.


At nearly every matsuri there is not only the above-mentioned food for the gods, but there is also food for the participants and onlookers. Festival food is prepared by travelling vendors who set up stalls, often lining the approach to the shrine, or streets nearby. The food ranges from fried noodles, a savory pancake called okonomiyaki, and fried chicken, to massive steamed potatoes slathered with butter and red bean paste-filled sweets fresh off the griddle. Sampling some of these treats adds to the fun of watching the events of the festival unfold.


In the end, most traditional matsuri are a big party, popular with locals and tourists alike. 


Matsuri can be found across Kyushu. A few examples are given below.




The first festival of the new year at Hakozaki Hachimangu shrine in Fukuoka takes place on January 3. Known as Tamaseseri (“ball seizing”), the festival involves moving a specially washed, blessed and oiled wooden orb from a small local shrine to the main Hakozaki Hachimangu shrine.


Hakozaki Hachimangu has two wooden balls, representing yin and yang, the eternal balance. Both balls are washed and blessed as part of the festival, but it is the yang ball, representing energy, heat, light, positivity and masculinity, that gets carried. This is where the festival gets interesting. Even though it is early January, local men and boys dressed only in a white loincloth known as “fundoshi”, work in teams to move the ball down the road. For the first couple of blocks, it is the boys’ job to carry the orb, although many anxious fathers and mothers are on the sidelines cheering them on. The action is like a giant game of “keep it up”. Some boys ride on the shoulders of others and carry the call, or pass it back and forth to others. As the entire knot of humanity moves slowly along, locals “help” by splashing them with water (whichis meant to keep them pure and sharp).


After a couple of blocks the ball is handed over to the men, and the action continues. Originally the men were divided into two teams, representing land and sea, and based on the team that ultimately got the ball back to the shrine there would be good harvests or good fishing catches in the year to come. While this competition is no longer part of the matsuri, the men still seem to act in competition, vying for control of the ball.


Eventually when the men get the ball back to the main shrine, a waiting priest accepts it and undertakes a small ritual offering both balls back to the gods. Interestingly, the yang ball has been man-handled in this matsuri for so many years (no one is sure exactly how many) that it has been worn down and is no longer even round.


While this isn’t a festival in which outsiders can participate, it is quite thrilling to watch the action and a wonder that some of these men and boys aren’t hospitalized with pneumonia afterward. There’s a lot to be said for the power of adrenalin.


For the first two weeks of July every year, Kushida Shrine in Fukuoka is host to an entirely different kind of matsuri: the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Matsuri. Like its famous cousin in Kyoto, the matsuri was started centuries ago, commemorating the end of an epidemic. The epidemic had apparently been stopped by locals carrying a priest through the community, sprinkling sacred water on everyone. Following this miracle, the event was commemorated by developing elaborate floats, towers of figures depicting historical characters and events, and parading them through the streets. It is believed that by honoring the original cure in this way, future epidemics can be warded off. 


This festival features two kinds of floats: Kazariyamakasa and Kakiyamakasa. Kazariyamakasa are massive structures, standing up to 16 meters (52.5 feet) tall. Historically these floats were raced through the streets of the Hakata area of Fukuoka at the end of the matsuri, but with the introduction of overhead electrical wires, this was no longer possible. Instead the 14 historical floats are now displayed in various corners of the city for people to admire throughout the matsuri period. 


These days there are seven smaller Kakiyamakasa floats which are toted around the city as part of the matsuri. Kakiyamakasa floats are similarly decorated, but are only around 5 or 6 meters (16 to 20 feet) tall. Even at this reduced size, each float still weighs around a ton and it takes more than 30 men to move them. Nonetheless, they are carried in a race at break-neck speed through a five kilometer (3.1 mile) course of city streets on the final day of the matsuri (July 15). Fortunately, the race is timed against the clock; all seven floats on the streets at once would be bedlam. The teams carrying each float consist of hundreds of members that take turns at regular intervals along the route.


During the festival, it’s quite fun to wander city side streets in a cotton yukata on a warm summer’s evening, visiting the various Kazariyamakasa floats to admire the workmanship of the dolls and try to guess which historical figures are represented. To bring things up to date, famous animation figures are now featured on some floats, alongside the historical characters. Part of the enjoyment is also buying food and drink from temporary stalls and rubbing elbows with locals, just soaking up the festive atmosphere.


Another annual festival with more than seven centuries of history is the Miare Matsuri and Grand Autumn Festival that take place at Munakata Taisha Shrine (see “Spiritual Island”) during the first three days of October. The festivities begin with the Miare Matsuri in which the two sister gods who reside on off-shore islands are brought from their homes to the Munakata Taisha Shrine. A flotilla of local fishing boats make their way out to Okinoshima to fetch Tagori. This kami-oroshi part of the matsuri can only be attended by men. Women are never allowed on Okinoshima, nor are they allowed to ride on any of the boats involved in Tagori’s kami-oroshi. Baby sister, Takitsu, is also carried to the mainland from her home on Oshima. In both cases, the fleet of hundreds of fishing boats coming ashore at Konominato, all decorated with stalks of bamboo and colorful flags flapping in the wind, is a spectacular sight..


Once the goddesses have landed they are reunited with their sister, Ichikishima, who has been carried to the port from the Munakata Grand Shrine. All three goddesses are then paraded back to Munakata Taisha Shrine, where they are made at home, each in her own shrine building.


The purpose of the matsuri is to please the goddesses so that they will ensure good fishing catches throughout the coming year. Various events are held during the three days of the festival, including horseback archery and ritual dancing. The Okinamai (literally “old man dance”) is an elaborate performance by a masked dancer that is said to pre-date Noh. 


On the last night of the matsuri, a final dance is performed by shrine maidens, called the “Eternal Dance”. This dance takes place by lamplight at the uppermost shrine of Munakata Taisha. This shrine is a sacred place so old that it has no shrine building. Everything is done outdoors, just as it would have been in the earliest days of Shinto. Watching these rituals, it is clear why UNESCO has honored the shrines of these sisters with World Heritage listing.




The autumn harvest festival of Karatsu in Saga Prefecture is regarded as one of the major matsuri of Kyushu. Held November 2-4 every year, the matsuri is known as Karatsu Kunchi. Kunchi is a local abbreviation of ku-nichi, which means ninth day of the month, as the matsuri was held on the ninth day of the ninth month under the old lunar calendar.


The festival is known for its tasty food, including special items families make for themselves as part of the harvest celebration, but also lots of fantastic street food.


This matsuri is particularly famous for its parades of fourteen colorful floats, moved and supported by volunteers from the neighborhoods to which each float belongs. The enormous floats are called hikiyama (pulled mountains), possibly because of their size. Each one is five to six meters (16 to 20 feet) tall and weighs between two and five tons. These particular floats are all antiques. They were made especially for the Karatsu Kunchi by different neighborhoods at different times throughout the 19th century, and have been lovingly preserved and embellished over the years. Each float has its own theme, often featuring fish, animals or mythical characters from Japanese legends.


During the Karatsu Kunchi, there are daily parades. The first takes place at night and the floats are lit by traditional paper lanterns, a spectacle in itself. On the second day, the floats are paraded to Nishinohama, one of Karatsu’s beaches. The third parade returns the floats to their year-round home, the Hikiyama Float Exhibition Hall, where, as designated cultural properties, they are on display to visitors year-round (closed for a few days at New Year’s). For this third parade, many of the revelers wear 19th century firemen’s uniforms instead of their usual cotton festival happi coat.




The biggest matsuri in the city of Nagasaki is the Nagasaki Kunchi matsuri that takes place annually October 7-9. The matsuri commenced in 1634 with shrine maidens dancing in thanks for a good harvest. It evolved into a major event by 1672, when the shogunate mandated that every district in Nagasaki city participate by preparing some kind of entertaining performance and an elaborate float for the matsuri parade. Both the performance and the float were essentially offerings to the gods of Suwa Shrine. At that time, the shogunate was trying to eradicate Christianity, which was prevalent in Nagasaki. The thinking was that mandating broad participation in this shrine-based matsuri would either identify Christians, who could then be persecuted, or would return people to Shintoism.


The matsuri’s parade began with people from each district, marching or dancing in matching costumes, followed by their float and performers. After these groups had paraded, three major omikoshi carrying the three gods of Suwa Shrine would follow. The object of the parade was to delight and amaze spectators with new ideas and phantasmagorical entertainment. That remains the case today. You can visit one of Nagasaki’s local history museums to see detailed scroll drawings of parades from two or three centuries ago. Those revelers would still feel right at home in this year’s Kunchi parade.


At one time, there were 80 districts involved; even the Dutch traders of Dejima were required to attend and participate, a bit of an inconvenience for them since October tended to be when their trading ships arrived from Indonesia. Having 80 districts participating eventually became too many floats and performances (in the Edo Period literally hundreds participated in the parade) so a rotation schedule was set up requiring each neighborhood to have a float only every seven years and a more limited role in the years in between. After the Meiji restoration, participation was no longer mandated, yet 59 districts opted to continue the tradition. These days the number has further dwindled and there are now only 47 neighborhoods participating in the rotation schedule.


Even in this scaled down version, the Nagasaki Kunchi matsuri is a major event. Districts that aren’t on show in a particular year are often spying on the others, to copy ideas in their efforts to outdo everyone when their turn comes. According to Kan-ichi Yamashita, whose family has been participating in the matsuri since at least his great-grandfather’s day, about 240 years ago, one district whose fishermen had caught a whale earlier in the year decided their float that year would have a whale motif. That float must have struck a chord with people; pretty soon several whale floats were showing up in the parade. An effigy of an elephant seems to have similarly caught the public imagination. In addition , floats in the shape of 17th century trading ships and fishing boats enjoy popularity even today. Each float is accompanied by performers in costumes that continue the theme of the float, which usually plays a central role in the performance as well. The diversity of floats and the costumes mirrors the diversity of the people of Nagasaki and their polyglot history.


For the main event of the matsuri, revelers parade among four venues where spectators can purchase tickets to seats on raised platforms to watch the performances. Tickets sell out at least a month before the matsuri. As an alternative, many people find they can also enjoy watching as the floats move from one venue to another along the parade route, with spontaneous short performances here and there.


Another aspect of the international flavor of the matsuri is the traditional ja-odori (dragon dance). Certainly there are few opportunities to witness a Chinese-style dragon dance in Japan. Interestingly, the ja-odori wasn’t even introduced into the festival until the late 19th century. Rather than being performed by the people of just one district, every year on a separate rotation schedule (usually four years after the district is responsible for a float and performance), different districts are responsible for the dance. 


It takes several dozen volunteers six months of training to learn to handle the two dragons, one white and one green. The dragons are more like long snakes with poles attached at regular intervals. The volunteers hold the poles and move them to manipulate the snakes, causing them to spin, coil and ripple as they chase a golden ball attached to another pole. It’s heavy, hard work and the volunteers regularly switch, taking turns handling the dragons. Even the way in which the poles are handed from one volunteer to another is a crowd-pleasing part of the performance.


The ja-odori dragon dance is performed at the four designated venues, accompanied by the cacophony of Chinese-style trumpets also played by volunteers, often high school students. A group of grade school children that the volunteers have trained, perform a little warm-up dance with a child-sized dragon before the main ja-odori. The dragons also join in the main parade, stopping along the route to bless households or participants, and giving a grande finale performance at the end of the parade route. It’s not hard to see why many people regard the ja-odori as the highlight of the matsuri.




With a history of more than 1,000 years, Fujisaki Hachimangu is the oldest shrine in Kumamoto city. The origins of its annual matsuri, held in mid-September, are less clear, although apparently it originally had something to do with earning Buddhist merit by releasing captive fish or animals back into the wild. 


Many aspects of the matsuri as it occurs these days can be dated to the late 16th century and Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s campaign in Korea. In particular, one of the popular spectacles of this matsuri is a parade of men dressed as 16th century warriors who march through the city streets. This is essentially a re-enactment of the victory parade to the shrine made by Kato Kiyomasa, then lord of Kumamoto castle, and his men, so that Kato could give thanks to the gods for his victory. While most of the faux-warriors are foot soldiers, there are a number mounted warriors as well, sitting astride colorfully caparisoned horses. The parade is headed by the shrine’s o-mikoshi, allowing the gods to also participate in the festivities.


Other parade sights include three sacred palanquins and groups decked out in the traditional matsuri garb of shorts, a cotton happi coat, and a headband. These revelers carry gongs, drums and horns that create quite a commotion. At one point in the matsuri they participate in a “horse race” that involves chasing a riderless (and possibly inebriated) horse through the city streets, a rather raucous event.


A gentler feature of this festival is a Noh play performed near Kami-Kumamoto Station where the parade takes a bit of a break.


Another Kumamoto festival that involves mostly parades and dancing is the Yamaga Toro Matsuri. This matsuri, which takes place in mid-August, at the time of o-bon, when Japanese traditionally return to their hometowns to celebrate their ancestors and welcome their spirits to return for a day. While the matsuri includes a bon-odori dance on its second day, the matsuri’s ancient origins appear to be unrelated to o-bon. 


According to legend, Japan’s twelfth emperor, Keiko (13BC-130AD) was travelling in Kyushu and was expected to stay overnight at Yamaga. When it became foggy and the emperor did not arrive as expected, the women of the area got torches and lined the road to light the way for him. The emperor spent the night in a temporary palace built for him on the site of what later became Yamaga’s Omiya Shrine.


Around the 14th or 15th century, the matsuri to commemorate this imperial visit adopted paper lanterns that the women, dressed in cotton summer yukata, tied to the tops of their heads. During this time, Yamaga had developed fine papercraft, making many sturdy objects out of paper, sheets of which are glued together and cut into shapes. The paper lantern headdresses were a natural and beautiful extension of that art, which is still practiced today.


Meanwhile, the men participating in the matsuri parade usually wear cotton clothes in the style of 2,000 years ago and carry pine torches.


Since the matsuri is celebrated at the time of o-bon, on its second night there is a huge bon-odori in the large open area near Omiya Shrine. Like any bon-odori, the dancers move in concentric circles around a central stand where the drums and fife are played. The distinction in this case is that the dancers are one thousand women in cotton summer yukata with lit paper lanterns tied to their heads. It makes for quite a sight.




Deep in the mountains of Oita’s Kunisaki Prefecture a different kind of matsuri occurs every February. Known as the Shujo Onie Matsuri, this thousand-year-old ritual is centered on the purifying power of fire and water … and the duality of good and evil. As with many matsuri, the goal is to ensure abundant harvests and good health in the year to come. In this case, the festival originally took place at the lunar new year and stuck with this February timing even after the lunar calendar was abandoned in the 19th century.


Shujo Onie Matsuri takes place annually at Tennenji temple and on alternating years at Iwato-ji or Jobutsu-ji, two other temples on the Kunisaki Peninsula. Notwithstanding the goal of ensuring good health, matsuri participants engage in a few risky activities, beginning with stripping down to their fundoshi loincloths for a ritual bath. Tennenji stands next to the Nagaiwaya River and a massive boulder that stands in the middle of the river has been carved with the Buddhist guardian deity Fudo (Buddhist carvings in living rock in Oita are discussed in more detail in “Spiritual Island”). After sunset, while Buddhist priests stand near the Fudo statue, participants plunge themselves into the icy river for a ritual cleansing and frivolous fun as they splash each other in the water.


Once cleansed, blessed, and dressed, the participants prepare a large bonfire, from which they light three giant torches. These are regarded as sacred flames, the sparks from which will impart safety and protection (although the fire department is on hand just in case they don’t!). These sparks are so important that the torches are knocked against the foundations of the temple to provide it with such blessings.


The highlight of the matsuri is when two masked oni (demons), one dressed in black and one dressed in red, each carrying a torch, perform a ritual dance. Sparks literally fly. Japanese demons represent an interesting duality, since they are often benevolent until tamed or conquered, after which it  becomes their role to aid humans. In this case, the demons have been summoned by the priests, who purify them with sake before they commence their performance. After the dance of the demons has finished, more sparks from their torches are sprinkled over the crowd before the demons retire for the night, presumably returning to their mountain home. Priests also toss rice cakes and amulets into the waiting crowd, who jostle against each other to try and catch a bit of the luck these items bring.


Because of the remote location, this matsuri does not attract big crowds, but the locals are always welcoming of outsiders who join in. A word of caution: because of the flying sparks and the burn risk, polyester clothing should be avoided.




As noted in “Spiritual Island”, Miyazaki Jingu was established to honor Emperor Jimmu, Japan’s first emperor. The shrine’s annual matsuri, held on October 26 and 27, is primarily a special celebration of the emperor. October 27 is traditionally regarded as the day on which Jimmu set sail from Hyuga for the island of Honshu to begin the campaign that ultimately placed him on the Chrysanthemum Throne.


The matsuri begins with performances of shishimai (lion dance) and yokagura (storytelling dance) on the first night while Jimmu’s spirit is transferred to a special kind of o-mikoshi called go-horen, built for carrying an imperial god. The next day, there is a parade through city streets with the go-horen, accompanied by dancers, musicians, and a parade queen dressed as a traditional bride, sitting atop a horse led by her groom.




Ohara Matsuri, thought to be the largest matsuri in Kagoshima, is held at the beginning of November. Unlike most matsuri, which have several centuries of history, the Ohara Matsuri is a post-war development, commenced in 1949 on the 60th anniversary of the founding of modern Kagoshima city. Another reason for introducing the matsuri was to show the determination of the city’s residents to rebuild and recover after the destruction of the war. The main features of the matsuri are its celebration of traditional folk songs and a parade of some 20,000 traditionally-garbed participants, spontaneous participation is also encouraged, in fact they even offer dancing lessons for foreign tourists. By all accounts, this is a friendly event that welcomes all visitors. A great way to really connect with the locals.


Modern and Non-traditional Festivals

As noted earlier, traditional matsuri are usually centered on a shrine or temple and involve honoring and thanking gods or requesting something from them. But even these pious purposes don’t stop people from enjoying themselves and having a good time. Matsuri are a wonderful excuse for a party.


Indeed, they reveal just how much the people of Kyushu enjoy community and social events, or just a good get-together. And in that spirit, there are various festivals across the island that are not necessarily rooted in history or religion, but are different kinds of celebrations.


Just as Kagoshima’s Ohara Matsuri was introduced after World War II, there are many other modern festivals unrelated to shrines or temples and some even unrelated to wearing traditional costumes or performing traditional dances.


In Nagasaki, residents of Chinatown have always celebrated Chinese New Year. Since 1994, their festivities have been expanded into a two-week celebration spread across the city and embraced by all. Known as the Nagasaki Lantern Festival, more than 15,000 round, yellow paper lanterns and red triangular pennants are strung up to line the streets and highlight the river. Other colorful paper lanterns, not unlike the nebuta floats of Japan’s Tohoku region, are also on display across the city. Chinatown is the most decorated area, with both red and yellow lanterns and other good luck symbols to be seen everywhere. There are also various parades and performances of Chinese acrobatics, dragon dances and lion dances.


The Saga International Balloon Fiesta is a completely different kind of festival. The area along the Kase River is known as the Saga Plain, a broad flat area perfect for hot air ballooning. For one week in late October and early November more than 100 hot air balloons can be seen rising into the air and drifting across the Saga Plain. This is the largest hot air balloon event in Asia and attracts participants from around the world. The festival event is not only a celebration of hot air ballooning, it is also a serious competition among the aeronauts.


Japan's passion for sakura cherry blossom viewing is well known. Venues with an abundance of these beautiful trees often host cherry blossom viewing festivals, arranging food stalls and sometimes even tea ceremonies or live musical entertainment to delight the visiting crowds. Maizuru Park, the site of Fukuoka's former castle, has over 1,000 cherry trees that it celebrates in the Fukuoka Castle Cherry Blossom Festival. Mifuneyama Rakuen, a park in Takeo city in Saga Prefecture, has 2,000 cherry trees and more than 200,000 azalea bushes that are the focus of its Flower Festival from late March until early May. The Saitobaru Burial Mounds on a plateau above the Miyazaki town of Saito, are also home to about 2,000 cherry trees whose blossoms are illuminated at night during the Saitobaru Flower Festival held in late March/early April.

Other small scale seasonal festivals can be found across the island and are often the most fun when stumbled upon by chance. As just a few ideas of events to keep in mind: the Dutch-themed amusement park Huis ten Bosch has summer fireworks and winter illuminations, Mojiko's retro port buildings also come to life with winter illuminations, and there are German-style Christmas Markets held each December just outside Hakata and Nagasaki stations. 


Kyushu has matsuri that represent the best of traditional Japanese culture, matsuri that have moved with the times to combine the traditional and the modern, and festivals that celebrate the seasons and more. At all of these events, visitors are sure to be warmly welcomed to join and enjoy.