Crowds of people celebrated the annual Japanese Food & Cultural Bazaar last weekend at the Buddhist Church of Sacramento. This year marked the 72nd annual bazaar.
The Japanese Food & Cultural Bazaar is seen as a traditional event for many families in the area. After World War II, it became a way for Sacramento area families to celebrate food and friendship. All proceeds from the bazaar fund programs for the Buddhist Church of Sacramento.
People who come to the bazaar were greeted with a bright display of Japanese lanterns. A colorful display was hung all over the tent outside. The outside tent was considerably hotter and more crowded. However, it should be noted that the majority of the food was outside along with the main stage in front.
Many people come with their families to partake of the food. The bazaar is famous for their teriyaki, their sushi, their tempura, their poke, and their ever popular shaved ice. This year Gunther’s fruit freeze was also served. They also serve udon, somen, tofu, mochi, and various sweets sold by the church’s girl scout troop. Sapporo and Asahi beer, as well as sake, was available.
During the bazaar, which happened Saturday August 11 and Sunday August 12, a variety of performers took the main stage. These included The East Wind Band, who has opened for Earth, Wind, and Fire, and other big name bands. There were also performances by Japanese folk musicians, dancers, singers, and taiko drum groups. Also, there were exhibits featuring Japanese flower arrangements, calligraphy, and Japanese dolls. Furthermore, there were a variety of stalls selling Japanese crafts, Japanese knick knacks, Japanese plants, and succulents. Kids got to enjoy games like fishing and tic tac toe. Each game gave out prizes.
The sheer amount of food used for this annual bazaar is staggering. They use over 4,700 pounds of short-grain rice. Around 3.75 tons or 7,500 pounds of chicken are used for chicken teriyaki. Approximately 2 tons or 4,000 pounds of beef are used for beef teriyaki, beef teriyaki sandwiches or other beef dishes. 100 pounds of salt and 1,600 pounds of sugar are used. About 6 tons or 12,000 pounds of ice are used to keep fish fresh for poke, or sushi, and to make the popular shaved ice. They used about 500 pounds of noodles for udon or somen dishes. Usually, around 500 pounds of shrimp are used for tempura.
Certainly, along with preserving Japanese culture and tradition, the Japanese Food & Cultural Bazaar serves as a great form of entertainment and great place to stuff your face. I thoroughly enjoyed the Japanese Food & Cultural Bazaar this year and so did my family. My little girls are still talking about the game prizes. I’m looking forward to next year’s event. Major props to the hundreds of volunteers who helped make this year’s bazaar a huge success!