Como Park Obon Festival 2017: Volunteer Information

Posted by on Jun 29, 2017 in Events, General | 0 comments

Como Park Obon Festival 2017: Volunteer Information

Volunteering Opportunities

We are looking for volunteers and would really appreciate your help in making this year’s Obon Festival a success. By volunteering, you will receive complimentary admission to the event.

The Obon Festival, the largest Japan-related festival in Minnesota, takes place in Como Park every August.  Modeled after summer festivals held across Japan, it features stage performances, cultural demonstrations, activities, and, of course, Japanese food.  The event is reminiscent of Japan’s annual Obon holiday, an important cultural and family event.  During this holiday it is said that ancestral spirits revisit their families for three days.  Many people will return home to pay their respects at grave-sites, and often small paper lanterns are lit and floated down the river to guide ancestor’s spirits. The Obon Festival also features the Bon Odori, or folk dance, in which all are invited to join in the circle and dance.

Volunteers will be chosen on a first come, first serve basis, and JASM members are a priority. If you would like to become a JASM member, please click here.

Click on this link to find out more information about the Obon Festival event. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact  Festival Coordinator Avert Ewing by phone at 612-627-9357 or by email at

Bon-Odori Rehearsal and Volunteer Orientation

Monday, July 17th, 2017, 6:00pm-8:00pm

Location: Spring House Ministry Center

610 W 28th St., Minneapolis, MN

This is a volunteer orientation for the Obon Festival. At the orientation, you will learn how to dance the Bon Odori from the members of Mikaharukai. After the dance lesson, there will be a specific orientation for the volunteers to learn about their job duties. There will be refreshments and snacks. If you plan on volunteering, it is essential that you attend this event and sign up here to be a volunteer if you haven’t already! SIGN UP BY JULY 13th

The day BEFORE the Obon Festival information:

Saturday, August 19th, 2017:

Meeting at JASM office @11am- at the most 1pm

We will be preparing materials needed for the festival, and you will also be receiving your ticket. If you cannot make it to the prep just email us at to let us know, and your ticket will be mailed to you instead.

The day of the Obon Festival information

Sunday, August 20th, 2017.

First shift: 1:30pm- 5:30pm (include set up)

Second Shift: 5:00pm- 9:30pm (include take down) IMPORTANT: If you are working this shift, please be aware than many volunteers last year had difficulty arriving to their shift on time. Please plan to arrive early.

Booths and jobs descriptions:

  • Main JASM Booth
    • This booth will serve as an information center of JASM and introduce the Lantern Lighting attendees to JASM’s programs and events.
    • Volunteers at this booth will sell Japan related items.
    • Volunteers will be an advocate to recruit new members.
  • Calligraphy
    • This booth is a place where attendees can come to write, learn and enjoy writing in brush and ink in Japanese.
    • Volunteers who can write calligraphy and have knowledge of Japanese language are preferred.
    • Volunteers assists attendees with writing with the brush.
    • Volunteers able to demonstrate for the attendees.
  • Kingyo Sukui (Goldfish Catching)
    • Scoop a goldfish with a paper paddle. The objective being to obtain a goldfish by scooping it out of the tub using a paddle. Game is over when the paddle is completely broken.
    • Volunteers to be the monitor.
    • Volunteers to put winner’s caught goldfish into a bag.
  • Yo-Yo  Tsuri
    • The objective is to obtain a balloon by fishing it out of the tub filled with water using a paper hook.
    • Volunteers to be the monitor.
    • Volunteers at this booth will make balloons.
  • J-Quiz
    • J-Quiz is an event that is held every February. It was developed to test the ability of high school students studying the Japanese language. It is modeled after the format of Japan Bowl and aims to make studying Japanese both challenging and fun. At the J-Quiz booth, you can test your knowledge of Japan.
    • Volunteers will perform a mock-quiz, containing questions regarding Japan, with participants.
    • If the questions are answered correctly, the participant wins a prize.
    • Volunteers should be able to explain what J-Quiz is.