Japan in a Nutshell

All dressed up and everywhere to go: Now that the Denver Botanic Gardens has unveiled its beautifully reimagined Japanese garden and mounted Kizuna, a summer blockbuster of massive, graceful bamboo installations placed throughout the grounds, it’s ready to celebrate. Tanabata Day, also known as the “star festival,” is a lovely event geared to families and especially children, who, as children’s programmer Laurel Olson points out, aren’t always a focus at the DBG.

To that end, volunteers will lead participants large and small through three activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. The first — and the chief tradition of Tanabata Day in Japan — involves writing wishes on delicate colored strips of paper and hanging them from bamboo branches. At the second station, kids can get hands-on with kamishibai, or Japanese story cards, which plot out a folk tale on a series of illustrated boards; after a presentation, they can create their own stories. The third station is a de rigueur activity for the gardens: a take-home planting of seeds (mizuna, in this case).

You won’t find a more child-friendly crash course in Japanese culture. All Tanabata Day activities are included in the DBG gate ad-mission of $9 to $12.50 (members and children ages two and under admitted free); visit www.botanicgardens.org or call 720-865-3500. The Gardens are at 1007 York Street.
Sat., July 7, 2012

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd