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A Japanese man plays the giant taiko drum during a performance Thursday night at Miss Veedol Plaza in Misawa city, Japan. The performance launched Misawa's annual four-day, end-of-summer festival.

A Japanese man plays the giant taiko drum during a performance Thursday night at Miss Veedol Plaza in Misawa city, Japan. The performance launched Misawa's annual four-day, end-of-summer festival. (T.D. Flack/Stars and Stripes)

A Japanese man plays the giant taiko drum during a performance Thursday night at Miss Veedol Plaza in Misawa city, Japan. The performance launched Misawa's annual four-day, end-of-summer festival.

A Japanese man plays the giant taiko drum during a performance Thursday night at Miss Veedol Plaza in Misawa city, Japan. The performance launched Misawa's annual four-day, end-of-summer festival. (T.D. Flack/Stars and Stripes)

Japanese children perform in a musical competition Thursday night at Miss Veedol Plaza in Misawa city, Japan. The performance launched Misawa's annual four-day, end-of-summer festival.

Japanese children perform in a musical competition Thursday night at Miss Veedol Plaza in Misawa city, Japan. The performance launched Misawa's annual four-day, end-of-summer festival. (T.D. Flack/Stars and Stripes)

A Japanese oni  - or devil - peers down from one of the parade floats on display Thursday night at Miss Veedol Plaza in Misawa city, Japan. A musical performance and the float display, launched Misawa's annual four-day, end-of-summer festival.

A Japanese oni - or devil - peers down from one of the parade floats on display Thursday night at Miss Veedol Plaza in Misawa city, Japan. A musical performance and the float display, launched Misawa's annual four-day, end-of-summer festival. (T.D. Flack/Stars and Stripes)

Japanese residents play the drums and flutes while riding a float during the Misawa city annual summer festival parade on Friday night outside the main gate of Misawa Air Base, Japan.

Japanese residents play the drums and flutes while riding a float during the Misawa city annual summer festival parade on Friday night outside the main gate of Misawa Air Base, Japan. (T.D. Flack/Stars and Stripes)

A float nears the turn onto the main intersection of the parade route through downtown Misawa city, Japan, on Friday night during an annual summer festival.

A float nears the turn onto the main intersection of the parade route through downtown Misawa city, Japan, on Friday night during an annual summer festival. (T.D. Flack/Stars and Stripes)

Erinkelly Rose watches her daughters Willow, left, and Piper play a game during the annual summer festival in Misawa city, Japan, on Friday.

Erinkelly Rose watches her daughters Willow, left, and Piper play a game during the annual summer festival in Misawa city, Japan, on Friday. (T.D. Flack/Stars and Stripes)

An elaborately decorated float is paraded through downtown Misawa city for the annual summer festival Friday night.

An elaborately decorated float is paraded through downtown Misawa city for the annual summer festival Friday night. (T.D. Flack/Stars and Stripes)

MISAWA CITY, Japan — Thousands of people packed the streets of downtown Misawa for the city’s annual summer festival float parade Friday evening.

“The culture, the people, the food,” said military retiree Richard Masoner, explaining why he attends every year.

The parade passed by American Park outside the Front gate of Misawa Air Base.

The festival continues Saturday with traditional Japanese arts on display in the park beginning at 1 p.m. A costume parade starts at 3 p.m., followed by a dance parade at 4:30 p.m. Portable “mikoshi” shrines will be carried on the route beginning at 5:30 p.m.

On Sunday, a repeat of Friday’s parade will begin at 1:30 p.m.

flackt@pstripes.osd.mil

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