A Winterfest Story

‘Twas the night before Winterfest, when all through the campus
not a creature was stirring…not even a mustang.
The backdrop was hung behind Santa’s red sleigh,
everything was quite ready for the school’s big day.

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On the third day of December, the PTA gave to us a three-car train, two gold prizes and one winter wonderland as Winterfest kicked-off its tenth year. This year’s attendance was at a record-high, seemingly without a single child left home alone, and with over 25 ASIJ alumni also enjoying the festivities.

Food was abundant and oh did guests feast. They feasted on falafel and poutine and rare pasta-ed truffle, holiday ham, xmas curry and even homemade waffles. Winterfest guests enjoyed 14 booths serving dishes from thirteen different countries and found their mid-morning caffeine fix at a new coffee booth this year.

With the jingle-bellies of festival-goers quickly filling up, the International Bazaar satiated our spirit of giving this shopping season, with doodads and bobbles and strange old antiques. One savvy shop owner even sold powdered sweets.

And outside the bazaar in the field, not too far, the Winterfest Express chugged along, car by car, to the tune of jam-bands, close-by, in song, and in good merriment children did play games of skill, games of chance, games, games, games all day long.

Grandma was safe from reindeer this year as Santa traveled by train. Santa’s photo booth featured high-quality prints rather than polaroids this time around and ol’ Kris Kringle’s jolly holiday fervor reflected on the faces of happy students. The Japan Center also added their own spin on the holiday festivities, with several tea ceremonies throughout the day.

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Our fabulous Winterfest Chofu Co-Chairs Maki Yukevich and Seiko Bernier and the ELC PTA Winterfest team, which included Sander de Wit, Monika Surana and Eve Kagimoto, did a great job coordinating this complex event. Their team of dedicated chairs spent countless hours meeting, organizing, prepping and ensuring that everyone had a good time. This event would not have been possible without the student and parent volunteers who baked, cooked, sorted, sewed, counted and worked shifts at booths.

Once again, our community came through with a record number of raffle ticket sales this year, raising over ¥6 million! Our Grand Raffle Chairs Misa Edmunds and Hiromi Yamaguchi from Chofu and the ELC Winterfest team worked diligently to distribute and collect all the tickets. Our fundraisers Tiffany Farrell from the Chofu PTA and Mariko Nakamura from the ELC PTA secured some great prizes and corporate sponsorships. The money raised from the Grand Raffle, and Winterfest as a whole, enables the PTAs to fund a wide variety of enhancements each year and provide grants for visiting artists, authors and other speakers.

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And so it went, the story of Winterfest day, all the mothers and fathers and children sadly do say. But once again next year and the year after that, and year after year we’ll continue to celebrate holiday cheer.