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Dancing for Joy and Remembrance

Ekoji Buddhist Temple in Burke hosts Summer Obon Festival.

Nen Daiko, traditional Japanese drummers, are one of the highlights of the summer Obon Festival at the Ejoki Buddhist Temple in Burke. Founded in the fall of 1994, Nen Daiko emphasizes "a joy and exuberance for expressing ourselves through the beat of the drum," according to the group’s website.

Nen Daiko, traditional Japanese drummers, are one of the highlights of the summer Obon Festival at the Ejoki Buddhist Temple in Burke. Founded in the fall of 1994, Nen Daiko emphasizes "a joy and exuberance for expressing ourselves through the beat of the drum," according to the group’s website. Photo by Kris Ikejiri

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Amanda Jenson of Burke shows off her traditional Japanese Kimono during last summer’s Obon Festival at Ekoji Buddhist Temple.

Whether guests wear the traditional silk Japanese Kimonos with brocade sashes, or just jeans and a t-shirt, all visitors are invited to join hands and twirl to the beat of Japanese folk music during Ekoji Buddhist Temple’s largest summer celebration.

Decorated with hundreds of Japanese lanterns, and colorful Buddhist banners, Ejoki Temple in Burke will host the area’s largest Obon festival beginning Saturday, July 14 at 5:30 p.m. with a full-evening of activities including dancing and games. On Sunday, July 15, a joint service will be held at 11 a.m. and will be officiated by Rev. Brian Nagata, who will also serve as the guest speaker.

The theme of the weekend is "In Gratitude."

"It is with gratitude that we honor the founding members of Ekoji who sacrificed much to establish and build the temple," said Ekoji co-president Fujie Ohata. "Obon, or Bon, is a time of remembrance for our parents, grandparents it is a time to express our gratitude for all they have done for us, and for the interconnectedness of our lives."

"The festival is also one of the times when we truly open our doors to give everyone an opportunity to see the temple, ask questions and just enjoy the gathering," said co-president Melanie Hatter.

The popular festival, which drew nearly 1000 visitors last summer, features children’s games, Japanese folk dancing, tours of the temple and gardens, Japanese, Hawaiian and American food, and performances by the Nen Daiko drummers and the Aloha Boys.

The highlight of the evening is the high-energy performance of Nen Daiko, the traditional Japanese drummers based out of Ekoji Buddhist Temple. Founded in the fall of 1994, Nen Daiko emphasizes," a joy and exuberance for expressing ourselves through the beat of the drum," according to the group’s website.

Ekoji Buddhist Temple is the only "Jodo Shinshu" Buddhist temple in Northern Virginia. For more information on the temple and upcoming events, go to www.ekoji.org.

Braddock Nights Concert Series

Jazz, pop, country, classic- and everything in between. The free Braddock Night Concert Series features musical performances for every taste Friday nights throughout the summer. The atmosphere is informal and guests are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner, blankets and lawn chairs and relax with friends and family to celebrate the end of the workweek. Volunteers are always welcome. If you would like to help volunteer at Braddock Nights call Braddock Supervisor John Cook’s office at 703-425-9300. Concerts are held at Lake Accotink Park in Springfield and Royal Lake Park in Fairfax from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. For a complete schedule and more information, go to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/performances.

Arts in the Park

The Burke Lake Park Amphitheater hosts a summer of Arts in the Park for children and adults. The events, sponsored by the Fairfax County Park Authority and the Fairfax County Park Foundation, are held Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. throughout the summer. Performance highlights include Blue Sky Puppet Theater on July 21; Rocknoceros on August 11 and The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra on August 18. For a complete schedule of all Arts in the Park performances, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/performances.