A Little Cultural Festival


Grab your friends and come to Skosh (a little) Japanese Festival on August 12, 2017 in Gresham Main City Park (south of Powell in downtown historic Gresham. This is our 5th year and each year we expand out into the world … We will be joined by several artists. Local artists … a well known water color painter. New this year is … Bonseki, Japanese Sand Painting … amazing, and you will watch Herb actually create a picture. Traditional favorites: Ikebana (flower arranging), bonsai (miniature plants / trees / shrubs), tea ceremony and the Koto (Japan’s national instrument). Moving out into our wonderful community: Gresham AAUW is a local organization who advance the equity for women and girls. They are an amazing group of women, check them out … you might want to join. Our environment needs support, check out: Portland Audubon and learn how to create healthy backyard habitats for our special friends. Health / wellness also has a space: NW Veg will be here to show you how to live a more plant based life. Local businesses and groups will be a part: Accent On Attitude, Gresham Historical Society … Join in hands on activities. We will tie into special ways the Japanese honor their ancestors, make wishes come true, and put out good thoughts into cyberspace (without technology): OBON is a summer celebration to honor our ancestors. You can do this by having their names placed on paper flags and display them in the park, oh yes you can take them home. Tanabata is usually celebrated in July, and is called the Star Festival. Stars represent lovers / friends. Names / dreams / hope are written on paper and hung to be shared by the wind. Take time to do this on tsuru (origami cranes); with our koi (fish) flags; or with calligraphy. More groups keep joining us … so who knows what we will have when the day comes. Just make sure you come out and visit with neighbors, meet some new friends, and be ready to learn.

SKOSH 2017

Join us Saturday, August 12th at Gresham Main City Park
Download Flyer

Skosh means “a little”. It is the title of our cultural program as we share the art / culture / foods / life experiences of the Japanese with our community.  Our dream is to have regular events, classes / workshops, and continue our yearly festival.  Through Skosh we will provide a taste of Japan to East County.

If you would like to volunteer, please contact us.

The Evolution of Skosh

In 2012 we had our first Skosh Japanese Cultural Festival at the Greater Gresham Baptist Church on a Monday evening in May.  This event was scheduled for just 2 hours, hoping for at least five demonstration tables … and 50 guests.  We were surprised when over 200 visitors showed up.  Over 75 volunteers showed their collections, shared their stories and skills, and guided visitors from place to place.   For entertainment we:

  • Debuted the Portland State Taiko Ensemble’s first performance
  • Shared the plans for the Gresham Japanese Garden – Tsuru (crane) Island’s renovation project …
  • Displayed several collections: kokeishi dolls (cylinder shape without arms); amigurumi (crochet animals); and bonsai plants.
  • Provided demonstrations in food, origami, and kimono dressing.
  • Mt. Hood Community College shared info about their Japanese program and club.
  • Reynolds High School and Gresham High School shared information on their Japanese language programs.
  • Stories were shared from the internment of the Japanese during WWII.
  • Clarence Mershone brought his books that told about his life on the Sandy River and the many Japanese families who were his neighbors.

Our event moved to MHCC in 2013 and we added a full entertainment program; Storytelling, Japanese traditional dance, Koto (13 string zither type instrument), and brought in Portland Taiko (drums). MHCC students hosted a program for children, with lots of activities and a chance to try new foods. Several craft people joined to share their talents: bunka (Japanese embroidery), haiku (Japanese poetry), anime / manga (art style), and 3-D origami. Games were shared: Hana Fuda and Go. Bamboo Grove Hawaiian Grill sold yaki soba. The internment program was enlarged and we had internees talk about their experiences.  Books were sold by local authors who wrote about that time, Densho the oral history project was accessed via internet so we could view videos of internees, and there was a nice conversation area for one-to-one discussions.

The third year, 2014 we found our home…Gresham Main City Park turned out to be the perfect setting for this event since Tsuru Island is right there. This was our first outdoor event. We cut back on the entertainment, increased foods that were sold, brought in community activists and environmental organizations. There were speakers, tours of the garden and a plant sale. GESCA added activities such as calligraphy, koto, and dance.  See how to be connected in the sidebar.

Get Connected with the Culture of Japan

We will be offering classes and workshops for students and adults; food demonstrations, speakers, and whatever interests the community. Come back to this site to see what is going on. Contact us with your ideas or if you are interested in, or would like to sponsor an activity.

View our photo gallery.