Yuki Teikei Haiku Society Educates Hundreds at Japanese Cultural Festival in Santa Cruz County
J. Zimmerman and Patricia J. Machmiller
Proposed and run by YTHS members to educate fair-goers about haiku, and opening to the rousing beat of the Watsonville Taiko drums, our Haiku Booth was a huge success, bringing haiku to the Festival for the first time in its twenty-five years. It was made possible by seven booth sponsors, whose financial contributions covered our festival fee.
From across the festival park, people’s eyes were drawn to our Haiku Booth in large part because Carolyn Fitz, our booth artist, calligraphied banners with haiku by each booth sponsor. Alison Woolpert and Carol Fitz hung the banners from the top of the booth with scarlet wool. The eye-catching motion of fluttering banners enticed people to us. Once people got close enough to see what was written, hundreds of them stayed to read the poems. Carolyn also calligraphied our striking “YTHS Haiku Booth” sign.
All day long several YTHS volunteers (principally Neal and Elaine Whitman, Peggy Heinrich, Ann Bendixen, and Patricia J. Machmiller) gave Haiku First Aid through one-on-one mini-haiku workshops, coaching novice haiku poets.
Approximately seventy adults (including at least 14 YTHS members) entered the Adult Haiku Contests, to win prizes donated by Alison Woolpert and YTHS. Roughly as many young people entered the Youth Haiku Contests, winning prizes donated by Alison Woolpert, YTHS, and Marianne’s Ice-Cream!
The wide array of eye-catching books and art cards brought people in. Total book sales were $123.
The huge success of the YTHS Haiku Booth was in educating people about haiku. Hundreds and hundreds of people visited our booth and talked to us. Fifty people (adult and youth) took copies of our “how to write a haiku” handouts (donated by Alison Woolpert and J. Zimmerman) … and they sat down and wrote one or more haiku that they entered into our contests. Additional people wrote haiku without taking a handout, particularly when someone returned with a family member or a friend. In addition, by the end of the day all the pamphlets with information about Yuki Teikei and how to join were taken.
Thanks to all of the people mentioned above, but particularly Alison, Carolyn, and Carol, who volunteered so much diligent and creative help to make the booth a success. Thanks also to YTHS members who visited the booth: they include Mimi Ahearn, Michael Sheffield, and especially David Sheretz (who helped with deconstructing the booth and transporting booth contents at the end of the Festival). And first and last, gratitude for the financial support of the seven booth sponsors (Alison Woolpert, Ann Bendixen, Beverly Acuff Momoi, Carolyn Fitz, JZ, Judith Morrison Schallberger, and Mimi Ahearn), whose contributions let us create a Haiku Booth. Extra thanks to Judith for loaning a lovely blue canopy to define our space.