Saturday, February 26, 2011

27th Annual Matsuri Festival In Phoenix

A Celebration of Japanese Culture 

From January to Mid March the Phoenix Metro area comes alive. There are the huge antique car auctions. North and South Mountain's trails are full of hikers and bikers. The spectacular Arabian Horse show is held at West World. At the airport golf clubs drop out of the baggage carrousels like nickels from the slots at the Indian Casino's. We then top it all off with Cactus League baseball.

It is a wonderful time to come and enjoy our Sonoran paradise. 

This weekend despite some ominous clouds there was another downtown festival to enjoy - Matsuri.

The Matsuri festival is a bit hard to characterize. It seems to be a stewpot of ancient and pop culture rolled together rather harmoniously. 

2011 Matsuri Drew A Decent Crowd 
The 1912 Era Monroe School 
(The New Home of the Arizona Children's Museum) 
is in the distance 

Admission to Matsuri is free (no kidding!) all you have to do is pay to park. You can easily avoid the parking charge by walking about four blocks or by riding the new light rail. Matsuri is held at Phoenix's Heritage Square. 

Heritage Square is a festival zone at the east end of downtown. To its north is the Arizona Center entertainment and office complex, the Arts District, and the rapidly emerging UA / ASU Medical and Biotechnology campus. To its east is the Children's Museum. To its south is Antoine Predock's starkly modern Arizona Science Center, the Phoenix History Museum and Pizzeria Bianco (Chris Bianco's homage to serious wood fired artisan pizza topped with his homemade mozzarella!) To its west is the stunning newly expanded Phoenix Convention Center. 

Heritage Square is the perfect venue for Matsuri, because it concentrates visitors into a compact space making the festival feel energized.


Dogs and Costumes

There is something for everyone. You ears pick up the sounds of Taiko drummers and karate demonstrations. Your eyes delight in the shiba inus, akitas, artwork, and tables full of bonsai (a friend of mine used to refer to them as tortured trees.) Everywhere are kids all decked out in their best anime outfits. And a treat for the nose, lots of food. There is something for everyone: sushi, pork buns, yakisoba, Hawaiian shave ice - you name it.

Food is Everywhere
(Arizona Science Center Beyond)

Miss M was in the Samurai Comics booth selling bottle after bottle of those little sugary Japanese soda's that are sealed on top with a marble.

Lots of Crafts to Buy 

Colorful Hats

Everyone Has A Great Time

Simply a great way to spend a February day in Phoenix.

Roadboy's Travels © 2011

No comments: