Monday, January 26, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Summerfest brings the Far East to Fairfield

17 japan summerfest 1

Jordyn Elliott, 8, tries on a kimono during Japan Summerfest 2014 at the Community Center in Fairfield, Saturday. The celebration featured traditional dances, a barbecue and cultural activities. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

By
From page A3 | August 17, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — Patsy Merritz carefully placed one small flower after another inside a small plastic water bottle that would serve as a vase.

The Vallejo resident was happy with her creation done at Japan Summerfest 2014 on Saturday. Her next stop was making origami.

“My son was stationed in Japan,” she said. “I got to visit him there. And my oldest granddaughter speaks fluent Japanese.”

Merritz said it was well worth the trip for event, a fundraiser for the Fairfield-Nirasaki Sister City program.

Sandra Hatcher traveled from Sacramento to share her passion for ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging.

She’s done the art for more than two decades and said it only takes a willingness to learn and appreciation for nature to enjoy it.

“I’m trying to spread the beauty of the art form,” Hatcher said. “It’s my passion. It’s not my day job. I wish it were.”

There are three concepts to Japanese floral arrangements: an asymmetrical flower, green to represent life and an abstract element such as a twisted piece of covered wire, she said.

Suisun City resident Miles Pontillas got his first taste of Japanese culture at the event. The 11-week-old was there with his mother and father.

Flower arranging, origami and writing Miles’ name in Japanese calligraphy were on the schedule. More would follow.

“We are going to do everything,” said Nicole Pontillas.

Japan Summerfest 2014 was organized by Kelley Cortright, who participated in the Sister City program in 2005.

She stayed on for a few years later, teaching English in Japan. She’s been involved with the Sister City program for the past 10 years.

Her goal for the event was to enlighten and inform.

“I hope they (those attending) learn about a great local program for youth,” she said. “I don’t think a lot of people know about it.”

Ann Elliott, who just moved to the area about a month ago, checked out the fun with her daughters Jordyn Elliott, 8, and Kelly Tomlinson, 28.

Tomlinson wrote her younger sister’s name in Japanese calligraphy. Jordyn tried on a kimono. “It was a little tight,” she said.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Ann Elliott said. “We are really looking forward to the dancing.”

For more information on the Sister City program, visit www.facebook.com/pages/Fairfield-Nirasaki-Sister-City-Program.

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or amaginnis@dailyrepublic.net. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.
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