Children talk to a balloon artist during the sixth annual children's festival, known in Japanese as the "Kodomo no Matsuri," held April 13 at Dewey Park at Camp Zama, Japan. Camp Zama's Child and Youth Services hosted the event to celebrate and kick off the Month of the Military Child. (Photo Credit: Noriko Kudo, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public Affairs)
Children talk to a balloon artist during the sixth annual children's festival, known in Japanese as the "Kodomo no Matsuri," held April 13 at Dewey Park at Camp Zama, Japan. Camp Zama's Child and Youth Services hosted the event to celebrate and kick off the Month of the Military Child. (Photo Credit: Noriko Kudo, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public Affairs)

Children's festival at Camp Zama kicks off Month of the Military Child

by Noriko Kudo
U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public Affairs

CAMP ZAMA, Japan (April 17, 2019) -- The warm and sunny weather signaled the beginning of spring and brought more than 700 people to Dewey Park here April 13 for a children's festival, known in Japanese as the "Kodomo no Matsuri."

Camp Zama's Child and Youth Services hosted the sixth annual event, inviting children from Camp Zama and neighboring cities, along with their family members, for a day that included live music, a magic show, a taiko drum performance, free food and drinks, games, and more.

Nicholas Andrews, outreach services director for CYS, said the festival is one of the events CYS hosts to celebrate the Month of the Military Child.

"I think it's important to celebrate our children," said Andrews. "[Military parents] are not the only ones making those sacrifices; our children are as well."

The event was open to all children, including visitors from Zama and Sagamihara cities outside the installation, but Andrews said the event was an opportunity to bring military children together to share in their unique experiences.

"This [celebration] brings it all to light for them," said Andrews.

Isabella Rose, 11, who attended the festival with her sisters for the first time, said there were so many things to see and do at the festival that she didn't want to leave.

"Putting on this event for military children is very special," said Isabella. "I think that some people don't realize how appreciated they are. These events will show them that."

Mizuki Sasaki, 11, who was invited to the festival, said she was initially nervous to come on to the installation, but quickly found the military children to be friendly and said she felt welcome right away.

"I had so much fun at the festival," said Mizuki. "I definitely want to come back again."

Stanley Green, assigned to the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, brought his son to the festival and said it was a great chance for military children to come out, socialize and have a good time. Military children go through a lot of things their parents may sometimes overlook or take for granted, Green said.

"So this celebration is a great way to give back to them and thank them for what they do."

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