Billy Barker Days float honours Japanese festival

Quesnel Shiraoi Twinning Society is active in Quesnel and maintains Shiraoi House

In the photo of our Shiraoi Twinning float we had two Shiraoi Twinning members

Matsuri is Japanese word for festival. Matsuri is derived from the verb meaning to attend or to entertain.

Japan is a reserved culture, but the Japanese people also like festivals and parties. Summer in Japan is one huge party.

For this festival, many lanterns are strung up together. The lanterns usually have lights and are used at night in Japan to help decorate the streets and walkways for their festival. This summer festival spans two days starting on Saturday on the first weekend of August.

Kitakyshu City, on the southern Island of Kyushu, holds the largest festival. It was first held in 1973 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the creation of their city. A junior chamber international c0orporation held the event called Kitakyushu Matsuri. Then for the 25th anniversary of the city, the current Wasshoi Hyakuman  Matsuri was started.  “Wasshoi” is the shout made by the parade participants when they run down the streets.

A song by Hatsune Miku was made to celebrate Natsu Matsuri. Check on line at YouTube.

On average in Japan 1.5 million people attend the event every year.

In May the QSTS formed a committee, to plan this year’s theme for our float for the Billy Barker parade.

One of our Japanese members on the committee Junko Lacy helped come up with our theme, “Natsu Matsuri.”

This festival in Japan uses lanterns, so our committee decided to make 40 lanterns by hand. Along with lanterns they also made origami with different shapes, such as frogs, cranes and miniature kimonos. The origami was sewn together as hanging strings and tied in between the lanterns. To display these decorations bamboo poles were used to hold the hanging origami and lanterns.

For many years, Quesnel Shiraoi Twinning Society members have worked on a float for the Billy Barker Parade. We want to thank each group, organization or people who takes the time to enter the parade and keep this tradition going.

The trailer that has been used for QSTS belongs to Bob and Marie Skinner for

the Billy Barker parade for about the 18 years. Bob kindly lets us continue to use the trailer for Billy Barker parade.

This year the trailer was in need of repair, so plywood was purchased, a new deck constructed by a few of our committee, Harry and Sue Smith and Bob Graham. Now, hopefully this trailer will be used for many more years to come.

Phil Demers also spent time getting the Tori gate painted, ready to be used for the float and as well as getting the licence plate and papers for the trailer from Bob.

This year on Saturday July 19 to our delight as we passed on the parade route, we saw many citizens of Quesnel, sometimes 10 deep on the lawns and streets.

And it was noticed by many that a tremendous amount of people come out to help celebrate the four days of Billy Barker festivities. Thanks to all who help pull this together.

In the photo of our Shiraoi Twinning float we had two Shiraoi Twinning members, Junko Lacy and Ryoko Hosaka dressed in kimonos sitting on a front bench and also dressed in Japanese yukata were 10 students, the majority who will be going to Shiraoi, Hokkaido, Japan with our twinning delegation in July 2015.

We want to thank the City Works Yard for allowing some of us to decorate our floats under the protection of their roof.

– submitted by Diane Graham

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