Camellia Festival just around the corner
On April 7 Newberg will again host the 10th annual Camellia Festival at the Chehalem Cultural Center.
The festival runs for a full day with performances, a run/walk, a variety of local and Portland vendors, art activities and an Oregon Camellia Society bloom competition of more than 100 different types of camellia flowers. The festivities start at 10 a.m. and run to 5 p.m.
The festival first started in 2008 with only a handful of people, but this year organizers are expecting several thousand attendees. The focus this year is on the Pacific Rim and Asian culture heritage and history.
The festival kicks off with 5-kilometer and 10K runs coordinated by the Chehalem Park and Recreation District, with runners and walkers from all over. Competitors will receive a one-gallon potted camellia plant as a reward for reaching the finish line. Refreshments will be served during the event. Registration packet pick-up starts at 7:15 a.m. and the 10K run/walk starts at 9 a.m., followed by the 5K start at 9:05 a.m.
Of course, being that it is the Camellia Festival, camellias are on the ticket throughout the day. The Oregon Camellia Society is hosting its annual bloom competition. The flowers are judged by size, color, form and condition. An informative and interactive camellia question and answer session will be at 3 p.m. Judging is at 8 a.m. to noon.
For exhibition rules go to, http://bit.ly/2psMaZU.
A plant sale will also be in full swing with camellias, blueberries, Japanese maples and garden art.
A Newberg Passport for festival goers is a way to keep track of the places to visit in the downtown area and collect signatures as they go. Once the passport is completed, the winner receives a camellia bloom. The passports can be picked up at the cultural center or at six downtown merchants.
A tour of Newberg's historical places is set and participants can learn about the people that make Newberg of local and national importance. A George Fox portion of the tour will feature historic buildings on campus and highlight university history. Historic city tours will continue throughout the day with registration starting at 10 a.m., tours begin at 11 a.m. and run every two hours until 3 p.m.
The festival features performances throughout the day in the ballroom or the Black Box Theatre. The Minidoka Swing Band is the first performance of the day from 10 to 11 a.m. in the ballroom. The band was formed in September 2017 as a tribute to Japanese Americans interned during World War II and intended to highlight the popular music in the camps.
Hula Halau 'Ohana Holo'oko'a, a hula school and dance company, shares the passion for hula dance throughout Portland that is accompanied by chant or song. They will perform from 11 a.m. to noon in the ballroom.
Next in line is a puppet show by Tears of Joy Theatre, who will perform "The Toad Prince" from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Black Box Theater.
Traditional Japanese drum and dance by Takohachi Taiko is on the menu from noon to 1 p.m. in the ballroom. Tokohachi includes a repertoire of songs in the modern Kumi Daiko style and the traditional Dentou Geinou style of ancient Japan.
The beautiful sounds of a 71- inch koto will emanate traditional Japanese string music during a performance by Oregon Koto-Kai. Koto-Kai's performance is from 1 to 2 p.m. in the ballroom.
Other performers are En Taiko, a group of children that started out playing on old garbage bins. En Taiko began teaching kids at schools where music class was no longer offered from drastic budget cuts. The group performs from 2 to 3 p.m. at the ballroom.
A Cantonese Lion dance by Lee's Lion and Dragon dance masters will perform from 3 to 4 p.m. at the ballroom. The performance will be followed by drums and fusion of taiko and Japanese folk dance at the ballroom from 4 to 5 p.m.
Demonstrations are also slated for the festival, starting with a tea ceremony demonstration in the grand lobby at 11 a.m. It will be followed by an Ikebana demonstration at noon and a bonsai demonstration at 1 p.m.
Topping off the event is an ongoing marketplace of vendors who sell merchandise from or relates to Asian Pacific Rim or local culture and horticulture. It is set up around the perimeter of the ballroom and listen or watch the performances on the main stage.