Springfield Sister Cities Association’s annual Japanese Fall Festival is the largest celebration of Japanese culture in the area, drawing thousands each year to Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden for three days of international performers, hands-on activities, vendors and evening candlelight strolls. This year would have marked the 25th event, and organizers had planned the biggest festival yet.
However, in the interest of public health, Sister Cities, in partnership with the Springfield-Greene County Park Board and the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Japanese Fall Festival.
In its place, Sister Cities invites the public to a scaled-down all-outdoor celebration: the Japanese Fall “Mini” Series, taking place Fri., Sept. 11, 5:30-10 p.m.; and Sat., Sept. 12, 3-10 p.m.; at Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden. Admission is $5/Adult and $2/Child 12 and under.
Guests are required to wear face coverings and maintain 6-foot physical distancing from others throughout the event. Staff and volunteers will ensure thorough sanitization of high traffic areas.
Each evening at 7 p.m., enjoy a concert by a local band selected to represent Springfield as a special guest in our sister city, Isesaki, Japan. Lancaster Station performs on Friday and will visit Isesaki in 2021. Uke 66 performs on Saturday and visited Isesaki in 2017.
Browse the mini souvenir tent featuring Japanese snacks and drinks. Purchase a wishing lantern to set your dreams afloat on one of the koi ponds. As dusk settles, stroll the garden’s 7.5 acres of authentic Japanese landscaping for the beautiful candlelight stroll 7:30-10 p.m.
Make it a date night, girls’ night, or fly solo at a Japanese-themed botanical workshop. Friday’s Bonsai Workshop is led by Chris Cox, The Bonsai Guy. Saturday’s Ikebana Workshop teaches the art of Japanese flower arranging. Both workshops begin at 5:30 pm and include all materials, Japanese food and drink, a wishing lantern and admission to the “Mini” Series. Preregistration is required, fees are $75/individual or $90/couple.
An Afternoon with Springfield Cosplay begins at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Bring a picnic and spread out to watch performances by some of the best costumed cosplayers in the area. Cosplayers are invited to participate in a photography workshop with Otaku Photography Zone and a modeling basics workshop. Admission Saturday is $2 for anyone dressed in costume.
Sister Cities created the Japanese Fall Series to provide Japanese culture opportunities for the Springfield area. Despite this year’s cancellation of the Japanese Fall Festival, Sister Cities remains dedicated to helping the people of Springfield experience foreign cultures with the goal of fostering peace and understanding between all people.
The Park Board reminds all park guests to help safeguard our community with these COVID-19 prevention basics: wear a face covering on your nose and mouth, maintain a 6-foot distance from others, wash your hands often, cover coughs and sneezes, avoid touching your face, and please stay home if you have any symptoms of illness. For more information, visit ParkBoard.org/Coronavirus
Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden is part of Springfield Botanical Gardens at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield. For more information on this event, please visit PeaceThroughPeople.org or call 417-864-1191.