This is the Japanese year of the pig and the Morikami is celebrating 2019 all day Sunday. The 41st Oshogatsu festival is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 13 at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens on Jog Road, just north of Yamato Road. The Morikami is in Delray Beach just over the Boca/Delray border.
There’s a schedule of performances, demonstrations, music, food and guided garden tours. The lion dancer, mochi rice cake pounders and tea ceremony are among special appearances that day.
More than 5,000 people attended last year, said Jillian Kogan, marketing and events coordinator.
But don’t let that number discourage you. Insider info will help visitors navigate the festival and get a taste of Japanese culture and food.
· Best time to go? Mornings are least crowded. “It probably picks up by lunch to 3. But if it’s a beautiful day, they might come sooner,” Kogan said
· Best time to buy tickets? Tickets are $15 for ages 11 and older; $10 ages 4 to 10, free ages 3 and younger. Purchasing in advance will save time and money, she said. Go to Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens for more information.
· Make sure your ticket includes access to the tasting room under a large tent. “You buy a ticket and get a wrist band, so you can go in and out,” Kogan said. There are 2-ounce tastings of sake and beer, so visitors can catch a show or demonstration, then return. You must be at least 21 years old.
· What draws the biggest crowds? The mochitsuki rice pounding with mallets.
· Is there anything new? “We didn’t have it last year, so it’s back by popular demand. Omakuchi New Year’s fortunes,” she said.
· How large are the gardens? “They’re just under a mile,” Kogan said. “People take their time experiencing the gardens. We offer garden tours.”
· How much time should visitors set aside? “Plan on spending three or four hours here,” she said.
· What about food? “Our café sells sushi and we offer steak teriyaki and different kind of noodles on the festival grounds.”
· What about people with mobility issues who may use walkers or wheelchairs? “There is a lot of walking since it’s a festival and spread out. The festival grounds are on grass and dirt paths.”
· What else should people know? This event is rain or shine.
By Marci Shatzman