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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 05/01/15

Friday, May 1, 2015

SAPPORO SNOW FESTIVAL FROM JAPAN!!!








   The Sapporo Snow Festival is a famous festival held annually in Sapporo, Japan, over 7 days in February.  Currently, Odori Park, Susukino, and Tsudome are the main sites of the festival.  The 2011 Yuki-matsuri dates are February 7th to the 13th.
   The festival is one of Japan's largest and most distinctive winter events.  In 2007, about 2 million people visited Sapporo to see the hundreds of snow statues and ice sculptures at the Odori Park and Suskino sites, in central Sapporo, and the Satoland site.  The festival is thought to be an opportunity for promoting international relations. The International Snow Sculpture Contest has been held at the Odori Park sit since 1974, and teams from various regions of the world participate.












   The subject of the statues varies and often features as event, famous building or person from the previous yer.  For example, in 2004, there were statues of Hideki Matsui, the famous baseball player who at that time played for the New York Yankees.  A number of stages made out of snow are also constructed and made out of snow are also constructed and some events including musical performance are held.  At the Satoland site, visitors can enjoy long snow and ice slides as well as a huge maze made of snow.  Visitors can also enjoy a variety of regional foods from all over Hokkaido at the Odori Park and Satoland sites, such as fresh seafood, potatoes and corn, and fresh dairy products.











   Every year the number of statues displayed is around 400.  In 2007, there were 307 statues created in the Odori Park site, 32 in the Satoland site and 100 i the Susino site.  The best place to view the creations is from the TV tower at Odori Park.  Most of the statues are illuminated in the evening.  The Sapporo Snow Festival Museum is located in the Hitsujigaoka observation hill in Toyhira-ku, and displays historical materials and media of the festival.











History

   The Snow Festival began in 1950, when 6 local high school students built 6 snow statues in Odori Par.  In 1955, the Japan Self-Defense Forces form the nearby Makomani base joined in and built the first massive snow sculptures, for which the Snow Festival has now become famous for.  Several snow festivals existed in Sapporo prior to the Sapporo Snow Festival, however, all of these were suspended during World War II.
   During the Energy crisis of 1974, snow statues were built using drums.  This was due to the shortage of gasoline which  caused  many of the trucks that were used to carry snow to the site,  were unavailable, due to the shortage and rationiong of fuel.  In that same year, the International Snow Statue Competition started and since that year many snow statues built by teams from other countries have been  featured; especially from some of the sister cities of Sapporo,  such as Munich Germany.












   In years when the accumulated snowfall is low, the Self-Defense Force, for whom participation is considered a training exercise, brings in snow from outside Sapporo.  The Makomanai base, one of three main sites from 1965, hosted the largest sculptures, with a emphasis on providing play space fro children.  Use of the Makomanai site was suspended in 2005 and moved to the Sapporo Satoland site located in Higashi-ku in 2006.  In 2009, the Satoland site was moved to the Tsudome (Sapporo Community Dome) site.  The Tsudome, located close to the Sapporo Satoland, is a dome for multiple sport events.
    Nakajima Park was established as one of the festival sites in 1990 however, it was removed as a site in 1992.  The thrid site, known as the Suskino Ice Festival, is situated in the night life district of Susukino and includes predominantly ice carvings.  The site was approved as one of the festival sites in 1983.  Every year, the IcSuskino Queen of Ice, a beauty contest, is held at this site.

TOP 10 BEST CHRISTMAS DUETS!!

 This is a nice light list of songs to increase your Christmas spirit on this wonderful holiday. It includes some songs that commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, and some that are more modern in concept – but regardless of the type, they are all great songs and perfect for the first prize of our competition. Merry Christmas!



10. Josh Groban and Brian McKnight/Angels We Have Heard on High













   This is quite a great Christmas carol that is sung beautifully by Josh Groban and Brian McKnight. “The words of the song are based on a traditional French carol known as Les Anges dans nos Campagnes (literally, The Angels in our Countryside). Its most common English version was translated in 1862 by James Chadwick.



9. Billy Porter and Vanessa Williams/Joy To The World











   “Joy to the World” is one of the best-known and best-loved of Christmas carols. It contains a message of joy and love replacing sin and sorrow. It may also be interpreted to be about life after the second coming of Christ. The hymn is significant for its widespread use throughout Christian denominations and for the musical stature of the people who created it.
   This is a great Christmas carol everyone can sing along to, and the duet by Billy Porter and Vanessa Williams is amazing.



8. The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl/ Fairytale of New York











   This is a popular and lovely Christmas song by The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl that was released in 1987.



7. Olivia Newton-John and Jon Secada/ Every Time It Snows










   Olivia Newton-John and Jon Secada duet to a beautiful and gorgeous song with lovely lyrics.



6. Christina Aguilera and Brian McKnight/ Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas









   “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is a Christmas song written for the MGM Musical, Meet Me In St. Louis. This nice duet by Christina Aguilera and Brain McKnight is quite fabulous.




5. Alan Jackson and Alison Krauss /The Angels Cried









 This is a wonderful and touching duet that is simply magnificent.



4. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan/ Baby It’s Cold Outside










   I think “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is a fantastic duet that can be sung by any male and female singer. It’s such a fun and awesome song and the duet by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan is great.



3. David Bowie and Bing Crosby /Little Drummer Boy/ Peace on Earth









   “The Little Drummer Boy” is a popular Christmas song, with words and music by Katherine K. Davis. One of the most popular versions of this song is the “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth” duet by the unusual paring of Bing Crosby and David Bowie. The duet was recorded in 1977 for a Bing Crosby Christmas special, and reappears annually in holiday music rotations.



2. Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion/ The Prayer














   The Prayer is an amazing duet by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion. They are both fantastic singers and the song is so beautiful.



1. Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra /White Christmas











   This is a classic and terrific duet by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.




CALLE OCHO FESTIVAL FROM MIAMI, FLORIDA!!!






    The Calle Ocho Festival or "El Festival de la Calle Ocho", is a one day "rumba"-fiesta-that culminates the Miami Carnival. This festival takes place in March each year between 27th avenue and 4th avenue, along Southwest 8th street, that is 23 blocks along "Calle Ocho" in "Little Havana" with activities for everybody.
     Even thought this festival is not counted amongst the official Hispanic holidays, more than 1 million people attend this block party to participate, and to see top Hispanic artists perform at every street intersection at the designated stages.









    You can hear salsa, reggeaton, merengue, bachata, balada, hip hop and more. Personalities like El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, Cellia Cruz, Oscar D'Leon, El Grupo Niche and many more have performed at the festival
    "El Festival de la Calle Ocho", is one incredible party that in 1998 was recorded in the Guinness Book of Records for having the longest conga line in the world with 119,000 people participating in it.
Music is not the only attraction going on at this Hispanic festival, the super famous block party has a kid's area with clowns, magicians, food galore, and products geared to moms and children.











    Another area of the festival is the "party zone", which is filled with a "carnaval" atmosphere, with street dancers and musicians that interact with the public. It is a novelty for non-Hispanic people to see the salseros or salsa dancer on the street. They come from the major salsa schools. But you will also see many people dancing to the same rhythms.













Foods at "Festival de la Calle Ocho"

    One of the best attractions of the festival is the food, it has many typical Latin flavors, especially of Cuban origin. It included hundreds of kiosks or booths that offer international food along with a sampling of free products....all at the rhythm of lively Hispanic music.
    You can find ropa vieja con plantos (shredded skirt steak with plantains), carbrito (baby goat), other barbecued meats, arepas (which come form Colombia, Venezuela, etc.), and the delicious ceviche (seafood).
    The most popular drink is Cuba Libre. To make it...use rum and coke served with a wedge of lime. You can also find fresh fruit juices at restaurants and Mojito Cubano, a drink that is made with white rum, lemon, and mint.







Some History of the Festival

    In 1978, Cubans invited the neighborhood to know more about Cuban culture and Calle Ocho Festival was born.
    This festival happens in the heart of "Little Havana", a wonderful neighborhood where the festive air invades it all at any time of the day. In the morning you can smell the scent of coffee recently brewed and enjoy a "cafe' con leche", along with freshly bakes pastries. At lunchtime beans, rice, Cuban sandwiches, etc. are amongst the favorite and popular foods you can find.
    The "Little Havana" enclave started because in the 1960's, Cuban refugees began settling around Miami's "Calle Ocho" and another major influx of Cubans occurred during the Mariel boat lift of 1980, that ended up increasing the Cuban population in and around the Miami area.









    The stores along Calle Ocho sell typical Cuban and more recently South and Central American products, (especially Nicaraguan) as new immigrants make their way into the neighborhood.
    The Calle Ocho Festival is the perfect party for travelers to enjoy all of the different flavors of Cuba and other Latin American Countries. This part of Miami is ripe with the music, art and flavors or many different Hispanic cultures, all living in one place. Attending the Calle Ocho Festival will make you feel like your in another country without leaving the United States.