Annual Japanese festival in Phoenix goes online

After growing in popularity for decades, Arizona Matsuri, a festival celebrating Japanese culture and art, hosted its largest event yet at Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix last year.

Tens of thousands of attendees queued in hour-long lines for foods such as takoyaki (fried batter octopus balls) and ramen, watched taiko drumming performances and marveled at “the Candyman” Shinobu Ichiyanagi crafting candy sculptures.

Such a large-scale event can’t happen this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. So the matsuri, which translates to “festival,” will soldier on this year as a virtual event on Facebook for the first time.

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