Clearwater and Sister City Golden Anniversary Celebrations Continue
By Renee Burrell
(Photos courtesy of Nagano City International Relations)
In 1956 President Dwight D. Eisenhower called for a citizen diplomacy program with the intent of creating a free and peaceful world. He said, "If only people will get together, then so eventually will nations." Pictured: An informational sign at the Nagano Lantern Festival explained the people of Clearwater's artistic contribution.
CLEARWATER - On April 22nd, Clearwater will be welcoming a delegation of 19 visitors from sister city, Nagano City, Japan. Mayor Washizawa, and other Nagano City officials and citizens, will tour the area and experience Clearwater until their departure on April 25th. Some of the visiting Japanese delegates will be guests in the homes of host families and others will be staying at the Sheraton Sand Key.
Both Clearwater and Nagano City are popular tourist destinations. The two cities have enjoyed a Sister City friendship since 1959 through Sister Cities International, a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network that seeks to create and strengthen partnerships between U.S. and international communities at the municipal level.
In 1959, then Nagano City Mayor Kurashima came to the United States searching for a city with similar economic and community needs. The longstanding relationship that has ensued since then enables students, teachers, citizens, and city officials from both cities to travel and share in cultural exchanges.
To commemorate the long-standing affiliation between Clearwater and Nagano City, the public is invited to a Welcoming Reception on Friday, April 23, at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall, 112 S. Osceola Avenue.
In addition, Lois Sewell, President of Clearwater Sister Cities, Inc. said their non-profit organization that assists the city by promoting cultural opportunities with Nagano City, will be hosting a welcome dinner for the Nagano Delegation on Friday, April 23. Supporters interested in attending are required to pay for their own meal and must RSVP by phoning Sewell at (727) 726-0260.
Previous events commemorating the 50th anniversary have already taken place. In October 2009, members of the City Council and their spouses traveled to Japan and met with the mayor of Nagano City, participated in a 'samurai parade' and attended a ceremony honoring the sister city relationship. More recently, Nagano City invited Clearwater to participate in their annual Lantern Festival they hold in reverence of the Olympic games. Clearwater residents and city employees created cutout panels with messages for peace that were inserted into Japanese lanterns and illuminated during the Festival. Last year, Clearwater held a similar event downtown during the annual Fun 'n Sun Festival.
To honor the Sister Cities' golden anniversary, Clearwater citizens and city employees created silhouette art panels with messages of peace for lanterns used in the Dream Lantern Exhibition at Nagano's Lantern Festival, a light display along the main walk to the famous 7th century Buddhist Zenkoji Temple. The annual event commemorates past Nagano Winter Olympics.
Return to Current Edition