Smile Politely

BEST New Festival of the decade: Matsuri

From our BEST Culture of the decade feature:

Japan House is a local treasure. And if you haven’t discovered it yet, then you obviously don’t read Smile Politely very often, because we are not shy about expressing our great love for this place and the cultural experiences it brings to our community. In this decade, director of more than 20 years Kimiko Gunji handed the reins to her daughter, Jennifer Gunji-Ballsrud. You can read more about their family’s involvement with Japan House here. Ever since, Gunji-Ballsrud has placed the utmost importance on connecting Japan House with the broader C-U community.

Key to that connection has been Matsuri, a Japanese festival that has quickly become a beloved local event. The first year they planned for about 500 attendees, and several thousand showed up. Five years in, they continue to up their game, bringing in more local vendors and incorporating more Asian cultures (this year they added Indian cuisine and arts to the mix), while bringing back favorites such as The Candyman and Ho Etsu Taiko drum group. Matsuri made our BEST list in 2017, and it rightfully deserves its place in BEST of the decade. (Julie McClure)

Photo by Melinda Edwards

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