/

HOKKAIDO

Pumpkins to go on show for Cinderella festival

by Tomoko Otake

Staff Writer

It’s more than a month before Halloween, but you can get in the spooky spirit at the Cinderella Yume Matsuri (Cinderella Dream Festival), where you’ll get a rare chance to gawk at hundreds of pumpkins of various sizes and carved into different characters.

The annual festival held in Saroma, a farming town of 6,000 people in eastern Hokkaido, is themed on pumpkins, which are among its principal products. The two-day festivities include a fancy-dress parade by local children and adults, a 10-minute display of 1,000 fireworks and a dance party featuring oldies music on the first night (Sept. 7), as well as children’s dance shows and concerts on the second day.

The biggest highlight of the festival, though, is the pumpkin contest on Sept. 8, where 100 pumpkins will be brought in from all over Hokkaido (and some from outside the island) and are weighed for prizes. The heaviest pumpkin that a participant grew last year was nearly 400 kg, according to the organizers. Smaller, but creatively painted and carved pumpkins will also be exhibited and given monetary prizes.

The Cinderella Dream Festival takes place Sept. 7 and 8 in Saroma, Hokkaido. The town is an hour’s drive (50 km) from Memanbetsu Airport. Most of the action will take place in the parking lot outside the Saroma Town Center. For more information, visit www9.ocn.ne.jp/~gkabotya/index.htm (in Japanese).