Lodi officials and the public will celebrate the city's relationship with Kofu, Japan this weekend with a baseball game, a fishing trip at Lodi Lake, a large concert with Japanese band students and a meal at YUME Japanese Restaurant.
The events today, Sunday and Monday will highlight Lodi's 50-year relationship with Kofu. President Dwight D. Eisenhower started the Sister Cities program in 1956. Lodi started its relationship with Kofu in 1961.
"What's significant is (that) Lodi is probably one of the few sister city committees to hit the 50th anniversary," committee president Bill Hinkle said.
The highlight of the weekend will be an already sold-out concert with the Yamanashi International Exchange Band from Japan and the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West on Monday.
But there are still opportunities for the public to speak with the delegates.
Today, Mayor Masanobu Miyajima and four other Kofu council members will tour Kofu Park and then attend a baseball game featuring the Japanese American Citizen's League. The visitors will arrive at 4 p.m. at the park named to celebrate the sister city relationship, which is located at the corner of Ham Lane and Cardinal Street.
Miyajima will throw out the first pitch to Lodi Buddhist Church Rev. Katsuya Kusunoki.
Kofu's mayor also wanted to go fishing at Lodi Lake, so the group will go on a boat tour of Lodi Lake, and then fish off the dock or go on a walking tour of Lodi Lake at about 11:30 a.m. today.
The group is also taking a walking tour of Downtown at 11 a.m. Monday that the public is welcome to join. The tour will start at the Lodi Fire Station and go to Stadium 12 in Lodi before continuing through the Buddhist Church annex, the Japantown murals and other highlights in Downtown.
There will also be a wide range of activities not open to the public but for Lodi and Japanese leaders.
There will be a dinner hosted at Frank Gayaldo's Ranch catered by the Velvet Grill and Creamery today and a lunch on Sunday at Phillips Farms. The official anniversary dinner will be Sunday night at Hutchins Street Square, where city leaders will exchange gifts and share a meal.
On Monday, the Japanese visitors will tour City Hall, the Lodi Police Department and Lodi Fire Station No. 1, before going on the Downtown walking tour.
They will eatat noon at Lodi Beer Company, tour Lustre-Cal Corporation and the Lodi Wine and Visitor's Center with wine tasting, and eat dinner at Yume.
The weekend will end with the concert at 7 p.m. Monday with the Japanese youth band and the Air Force band.
The band from Japan includes junior high through college-age students, who are playing concerts in Des Moines, Iowa, Fairfield and Lodi during their trip to the U.S. The band is a brass and woodwind band. All of the band members come from the Yamanashi Prefecture, which is similar to a county, and Kofu is located in it. Lodi's sister city lies just west of Mount Fuji.
The Air Force band has come to Lodi for holiday concerts in the past and features 45 musicians.