Year of 2019
June 6, 7, 8, 9
Year of 2019
2019 Sesquicentennial Wakamatsu Farm Festival
941 Cold Springs Road
Placerville, CA 95667
American River Conservancy invites the public to celebrate
the 150th anniversary of the first Japanese colony in America
at the historic location of their 1869 tea and silk farm.
WakaFest150 is a special celebration of 150 years of Japanese-American heritage, arts, and cuisine. The festival will feature Japanese food, art, music, performances, demonstrations, discussions, competitions, and more. Booths will offer Asian and other foods, information, and merchandise. Entertainment will showcase traditional and modern Japanese culture. Docents will guide tours and tell stories about the first Japanese colonists who established their tea and silk farm on this Placerville property. Locals, farmers, historians, and naturalist will share knowledge and experience honoring the past, present, and future of Wakamatsu Farm and surrounding El Dorado County.
The festival location is Wakamatsu Farm, the site of the first Japanese Colony in the USA.
Don’t miss your chance to enjoy this one and only sesquicentennial celebration!
Schedule of Events
Please return to this page in the future for planned events.
Do you want to participate in WakaFest150? Please click on the “Get Involved” tab.
Please return to this page for special programs.
Visiting During WakaFest150
On June 6, 7, 8, 9 of 2019, WakaFest150 is a sesquicentennial celebration to broaden community and international awareness about Wakamatsu Farm, Japanese-American culture, and the abundant agricultural, natural, historical, and cultural resources of El Dorado County. Local, state, national, and international guests are welcome to WakaFest150, a celebration of the first Japanese colony established in the USA.
Directions to Wakamatsu Farm: Wakamatsu Farm Directions
Festival Map: Visitors’ Map
Visiting Wakamatsu Farm Today
A working farm, Wakamatsu Farm is private property. Unscheduled drop-in’s are not appropriate. ARC offers public access during many year-round tours and events, like WakaFest150 in 2019. Visitors can find all dates to visit Wakamatsu Farm by viewing the calendar at www.ARConservancy.org/wakamatsu. Private tours are also available.
For an enjoyable visit at Wakamatsu Farm, please plan for rugged outdoor leisure with limited amenities. Please also follow these guidelines:
⋅ Respect farmers’ private residences and fenced boundaries.
⋅ Do not enter restricted areas.
⋅ Electric fences ARE in use. Do not touch or attempt to cross any fences.
⋅ Do not enter barn or dairy without authorized personnel.
⋅ Do not approach or touch farm animals.
⋅ Only service animals on leashes may visit the farm. No pets allowed.
⋅ Stay on trails, and beware of rattlesnakes and poison oak.
⋅ Manage your trash. Be a good land steward, and leave the land better than you found it.
Wakamatsu Farm in Placerville, California, is the site of these important Japanese “firsts,” including:
⋅ 1st Japanese colony in the USA
⋅ 1st Japanese-American birth
⋅ 1st Japanese woman/immigrant who died and was buried in America
The Wakamatsu property has thrived through the decades. Today, Wakamatsu Farm is owned by a small, local non-profit organization called the American River Conservancy, which is dedicated to preserving, restoring, and offering Wakamatsu Farm to the world.
Charles Graner’s 1850’s farmhouse
Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the First Japanese Colony in America
On June 8, 1869, the first Japanese immigrants in America arrived in the Gold Hill region of Placerville, California. Among these 22 colonists were samurai, farmers, skilled laborers, and their families. They established the first Japanese colony in America called the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm. Although their colony was short lived, the vision of the first Japanese pioneers remains vital to California’s agricultural legacy.
Some historic photos of identified Wakamatsu colonists
Okei-san was 19 yrs-old when she became the first Japanese pioneer to lose her life in pursuit of the American dream. For nearly a century, visitors from Japan have traveled to Okei-san’s grave to pay their respects to Okei-san.
Okei-san’s grave and some of the many visitors who travel to Wakamatsu Farm each year to visit her grave
In 1969, Wakamatsu Farm became California Registered Historical Landmark. Governor Ronald Regan performed the honors at the ceremony. The Japanese community supported the event.
Get Involved in WakaFest150
Festival Theme: “Celebrating 150 years of Japanese-American heritage, arts, and cuisine”
ARC encourages participation by any whose creative work reflects the festival theme, especially those honoring Asian-American cultures.
WakaFest150 participation ideas include:
|Types of Participation||Examples|
|Food vendors and trucks||Japanese, Asian, and other cuisines, both savory and sweet|
|Food demonstrations and contests||Sushi-making, sushi competition, tea ceremony|
|Beverage producers and vendors||Tea, sake, wine, beer, whiskey|
|Arts & entertainment||Music, dance, painting, drawing, performance, photography|
|Japanese demonstrations||Bonsai, swords and weaponry, ikebana, mochi, kimono, origami, kites, silk worms, chanoyu, tea processing|
|Japanese performance||Taiko, koto, dance (traditional & modern)|
|Story-telling||Kamishibai, puppets (hand and giant pageant), books, writing, film, poetry, calligraphy, manga, anime|
|Informational booths||Non-profits, clubs, community, educational|
|Other?||Pageant, wagon tours, meditations, costume, what else?|
Other ideas are welcome. Please click here to apply as a participant in WakaFest150 as a vendor, performer, etc. Your complete application is not a guarantee of acceptance. After you submit your application, you will be contacted within 10 business days.
Long before, during, and after WakaFest150, volunteer opportunities abound at Wakamatsu Farm. ARC is currently seeking volunteers to assist with the following:
⋅ Promotions and outreach
⋅ Grounds keeping, maintenance, and gardening
⋅ Docents, guides, and interpretation
⋅ Educational programs
⋅ Natural resource conservation
⋅ Many other tasks and skills!
Become a volunteer to experience Wakamatsu Farm in deeper connection with the land and history. The sooner you volunteer, the more prepared you will be to help with WakaFest150.
Click here to volunteer at Wakamatsu Farm. Be sure to check the “Wakamatsu Festival 2019” box. After you submit your form, you will be contacted within 10 business days.
American River Conservancy is grateful for all Wakafest150 sponsors.
Sponsorship at these monetary levels will be received in honor of:
- Okei-san’s Memory: $20,000
- Samurai Legacy: $10,000
- Matsu-san’s Dedication: $5,000
- Kuni-san’s Spirit: $2,500
- Mary Schnell’s Birth (1st Japanese-American born at Wakamatsu): $1000
- Wakamatsu Fan: $500
Become a Sponsor
WakaFest150 is a celebration of 150 years of Japanese-American heritage, arts, and cuisine. The purpose of this sesquicentennial is to broaden community and international awareness about Wakamatsu Farm and the abundant agricultural, natural, historical, and cultural resources in El Dorado County.
Sponsoring WakaFest150 is a great way to become part of the WakaFest150 and Wakamatsu Farm experience. American River Conservancy is prepared to host at least 4000 local, national, and international visitors during WakaFest150. Generous sponsors will help WakaFest150 be a true success!
American River Conservancy is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so your festival sponsorship may be tax-deductible. Supporting this festival is a tremendous source of pride for any business, group, or individual. Sponsoring this unique experience offers you exposure to Japanese and Japanese-American people, organizations, and businesses. Festival sponsorship also represents your commitment to effective local environmental activism, sustainable agricultural practices, and informed cultural sensitivity among community and international circles.
Festival Media & Advertising
As a sponsor, your association becomes a supporter of WakaFest150 shared in various media and advertising outlets, such as:
• Television: Comcast Channel 2, KCRA Channel 3, Fox40, KMAX Channel 31
• Print: Sacramento Bee, Mountain Democrat, Sacramento News & Review, Nichi Bei Weekly, SF Weekly, Associated Press
• Radio: Capital Public Radio, KVMR-FM, 89.5
• Internet: This WakaFest150 website, Facebook, Twitter, numerous community calendars
• Collateral: 4000+ program booklets, 1000’s of posters and postcards distributed over years prior to festival date
The higher your sponsorship level, the more recognition you will be offered, including your logo and link on this page. The sooner you sponsor WakaFest150, the sooner and longer your support can be associated with WakaFest150.
American River Conservancy will gratefully accept sponsorship in the form of financial donations, festival materials and services, and volunteer time for WakaFest150 and the 272-acre Wakamatsu property. Please contact wakamatsu@ARConservancy.org to share your sponsorship ideas and options that meet your specific needs.
WakaFest150 is a sesquicentennial celebration honoring the first Japanese colony of immigrants in America. As stated on California Registered Historical Landmark 815 located in near the center of the Wakamatsu Farm property, the Japanese immigrants “arrived at Gold Hill on June 8, 1869… it marked the beginning of Japanese influence on the agricultural economy of California.” This historic date makes Wakamatsu Farm in the Gold Hill area exactly 150 years-old on Saturday, June 8, 2019.
The 4-day festival honors the spirit of these first Japanese pioneers along with a vast and fascinating history of the property and region. Wakamatsu Farm is located about 2 miles south of the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, the essential center of the 1849 California gold rush. Long before and into prehistoric times, California Natives lived on this land where their traces remain today. Prominent pioneer families from Europe settled and successfully farmed the land for many generations. Now the property is owned by the American River Conservancy that pledges to preserve, restore, and offer the land to the public for educational, recreational, and community-centered programs.
Large portions of the Wakamatsu Farm will be open to the public during the Festival. Wakamatsu Farm ranges over 272 lush acres of farmland, oak woodlands, and riparian areas. On the property are ponds and creeks that attract abundant wildlife. The land is home to resident farmers who use “better than organic” processes to feed the community. Among other features, onsite is a native plant nursery, giving garden, and a 1.5-mile wheelchair-accessible trail.
We hope to see you at the farm for WakaFest150!
Please return to this page for our media kit. Meanwhile, for more information about ARC and Wakamatsu Farm, please email wakamatsu@ARConservancy.org or call 530-621-1224.
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American River Conservancy
P.O. Box 562, Coloma, CA, 95613
ARC’s Nature Center: 358 Hwy 49, Coloma, CA (open Fri to Sun,10:00 to 4:00)
Want to visit the farm before the festival?
(please check back)