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CAMP FOSTER — Christmas has become a festival of lights in the Okinawa community, with holiday illuminations at local parks and gardens throughout the island that feature thousands of lights and snow — yes, snow!

The snow might not stick, but it will be falling four times each evening beginning Dec. 22 at the Okinawa Kids Discovery Kingdom in Okinawa City. The park will be decked out with 1.3 million lights for “Christmas Fantasy 2007” during a six-night run that will feature 10-minute blasts of machine-made snow. Each show runs 4 to 10 p.m.

The event will also feature kamakura, or snow huts for young children; laser light shows with music; street dance performances; Christmas concerts; and fireworks.

The Southeast Botanical Gardens in Chibana, Okinawa City, near Camp Shields, will feature trees and plants glowing with more than 500,000 lights during its “Christmas and New Year Paradise 2007/2008,” which runs Dec. 22 through Jan. 2. A laser musical show will run from Dec. 22 through Christmas Day.

The Okinawa Wine Farm in Itoman, in southern Okinawa, is home to a walk-through tunnel of lights called the Itoman Peaceful Illumination Festival, Dec. 21-Jan. 3.

Small plane or helicopter rental are available for nighttime views of Okinawa’s lights. From Dec. 22 to Dec. 24, Air Dolphin will offer 15-minute flights over Naha City in a small Cessna airplane, while Island Link will feature 10-minute helicopter rides over the city.

The lineup ...Sky cruisingAir Dolphin Prices: Dec. 22 — 7,500 yen/person; Dec. 23 — 8,000 yen/person; Dec. 24 — 8,500 yen/person; children 2 and younger free.Flights depart every half-hour between 6 and 8:30 p.m. Reservations, advance payment required.Phone: 098-858-3363 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) English service is not available.

Island Link Charges vary depending on flight time: 6 p.m., 6:20 p.m. and 8:40 p.m. — 9,800 yen; 7p.m., 7:20 p.m. and 7:40 p.m. — 11,000 yen: 8 p.m., 8:20 p.m. — 12,000 yen.Reservations are required. Phone 098-857-7563 or contact by e-mail at info@islandlink.jp.

Illumination festivalsChristmas Fantasy 2007 at Okinawa Kids Discovery Kingdom Dec. 22-27, 4 to 10 p.m.Located in the Goya District of Okinawa City. Admission: Adults 2,000 yen at the door, 1,700 yen in advance at convenience stores and Jusco; children 15 years and younger: 1,200 yen at door or 1,000 yen in advance. Children 3 and younger free. Visitors are advised to park at the Koza Athletic Park and take free shuttle buses to the park. Phone: 098-933-4190.Web site: www.kodomo.city.okinawa.okinawa.jp.

Christmas and New Year Paradise 2007/2008 at Southeast Botanical Gardens Dec. 22-Jan. 2, 4 to 11 p.m. Located behind Camp Shields and O’Donnell Gardens Housing Area. Admission: Adults (12 and older) — 2,000 yen at the door, 1,800 yen in advance (available at convenience stores); children 6 and older — 1,000 yen at the door, 900 yen in advance; children 5 and under free. Phone: 098-939-2555. Web site: www.sebg.co.jp.

Itoman Peaceful Illumination Festival Dec. 21-Jan. 3, 6 to 10 p.m.Admission: Adults 200 yen; children 15 and younger free.Directions: Located off Highway 331 opposite Peace Prayer Park. Phone: 098-840-8135.

— Chiyomi Sumida

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