Arizona Matsuri February 25-26, 2023

Arizona Matsuri February 25-26, 2023

(We are not sponsored by Arizona Matsuri, or by any of the groups/vendors participating in this year’s festival.)

Oh, happy days! After a few years of “virtual” Matsuri, the festival will be going back in-person this year. This year’s theme is “Harmony.” As with the last in-person festival—back in 2020—this Matsuri will be held at the larger Steele Indian School Park, 300 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85012. The one downside to this location is the parking situation. Parking at the park is very limited and with the traffic lights and additional traffic, finding a spot in the area is difficult. But don’t despair there are several options available. First, there are parking garages a few blocks away at Central Ave and Weldon and another one further south at Central Ave and Catalina Drive. Both are fee-based and could charge event pricing. The next option would be to use one of the many park-and-ride light rail stations. 169 W Camelback Road has 135 car spaces, and a full-day Light Rail Pass will cost $4, the ride to the part is close to a mile.

Now with the boring stuff out of the way, on to the fun. As with past Matsuri festivals there will be several martial arts demonstrations, dancing (both modern and traditional), musical groups and of course Taiko, the art of Japanese drumming. Fushicho Daiko group has been performing at Matsuri for more that 20 years and has a fun and interactive audience hands-on drumming session on both days. 1:00 PM on Saturday and 2:00 PM on Sunday. Stop by and get with the beat.

If eating is more your pace, there will be more than 20 food vendors available. Stop by and sample everything from the sweet to the savory. Ramen Island will be offering frozen DIY take home kits of some of their favorite ramens. It is recommended to order ahead and just pickup, be sure to bring an insulated bag as there is no ice provided (see for orders). Hot Bamboo will have warm steam buns made with pork, teriyaki chicken, tofu (vegan) and red bean. Blue Fin Restaurant will have California rolls and mochi. But be sure to save room for Lina’s Macarons and just eat your way through the festival.

For the shopaholics out there, the festival offers a wide variety of items and materials to choose from. At past festivals I have gotten some lovely fabrics, needle work designs and beautiful paper craft items. Awesome Anime and Collectors Marketplace will also be there selling anime and movie memorabilia. But my favorite stop at the festival must be the flea market put up by the JBAA (Japan Business Association of Arizona). I can always wander through their multiple booths and find some great treasures.

We here at The Beading Gemini have been very busy this spring and cannot guarantee if we will be able to attend to this year’s Matsuri. But if we do, I will put out a follow-up post.


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