The Aki Matsuri Festival in Japan is an exciting event when the community comes together to celebrate the harvest and the beauty of autumn. Local residents can have the same enriching experience celebrating the diversity of the Coachella Valley by attending the Aki Matsuri Fall Festival at the Coachella Valley Museum on Saturday, November 10 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The Taiko Center of Los Angeles will thrill visitors with Taiko drumming beginning at 11:00 a.m. and then invite the public to join in. Visitors will also learn Ondo street harvest dancing. Yuki Easter and musicians from San Diego will play the Koto, a stringed instrument with a very long history in Japan. Martial arts demonstrations are also on the schedule. Joyce Hirohata, author of Nisei Voices, a history of second generation Japanese-Americans in California who were valedictorians of their different high schools, will speak about her book and sell signed copies. “Farewell to Manzanar,” a documentary about one of the internment camps in which Japanese-Americans were confined during World War II, will also be shown throughout the day.

The historic grounds of the Museum, located at the intersection of Miles Avenue and Deglet Noor Street in downtown Indio, will be transformed into a typical Japanese festival with lots to do for the whole family. Japanese food available for purchase will include sushi from Frankie’s Fresh Fish in Indio, tofu tostados, Asian salad, and mochi ice cream. Free tours of the Museum complex include a special Japanese Doll exhibit. Museum docents will help children fold Japanese origami figures and there will be other crafts for children. Fresh vegetables donated by local farms including Prime Time, Peter Rabbit Farms, Colorama Plants, Bagdasarian Ranch and Kitagawa Ranch can be purchased at the Produce Stand. A Second-Hand Treasures sale will offer lots of interesting bargains.

Aki Matsuri Fall Festival at the Coachella Valley Museum and Cultural Center was first introduced in 1999 when Cherry Ishimatsu and members of the local Japanese-American community staged this very successful educational event for the community. According to Mrs. Ishimatsu, “Aki Matsuri in Japan brings the community together to celebrate the harvest and the changing seasons. We’ll do the same here this year,” she said. Major sponsors for the festival include Alice Sakai; Hayward, Tilton & Rolapp Insurance Associates, Inc., D. Papan and Associates; Events by Joe Scarna; and Jasbir Saluja, M.D.

Mary Minamide of the Coachella Valley Watercolor Society has captured the tone of Aki Matsuri with a watercolor collage of traditional fans that is the focal point of the Aki Matsuri Fall Festival poster. The poster will be for sale at the festival.

General admission is $4.00 for adults and $1.00 for children 3-17. Children’s admission includes two free crafts. Children up to age 3 are free. Museum members are free and memberships can be purchased at the door. The Aki Matsuri Festival is an educational community program and all proceeds benefit the Museum. For further information call the Museum at 760-342-6651 or Cherry Ishimatsu at 760-347-4043.