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ABQ BioPark's Obon Festival to feature traditional Japanese drummers and dancers, tea ceremony demo, floating lanterns and more

Tickets available online for the August 13 event.

August 1, 2022 - Tickets are now live for the ABQ BioPark's Obon Festival, which will feature traditional Japanese dancers and drummers, floating lanterns, a tea ceremony demonstration and more.

The event will take place from 6-9 p.m. on August 13, 2022, at the Botanic Garden.

"Join us in a commemoration of ancestors during our annual Obon Festival," said Cheri Vogel, ABQ BioPark education curator. "We are excited to share Japanese art and tradition at this annual festival at the Botanic Garden." 

Obon is an annual Buddhist event that commemorates one's ancestors. The traditional belief is that each year during obon, the ancestors' spirits return to this world to visit their relatives.

Each ticket will include a toro nagashi, or floating lantern, to celebrate loved ones. Guests can make their own lanterns, which will be released on the Japanese Garden pond at timed intervals. Food and drink also will be available for purchase at the event.

Tickets are $25 for the general public and $22.50 for New Mexico BioPark Society members. Children under 2 years old are free. Advance tickets are highly recommended and include access to the Japanese Garden and High Desert Rose Garden. Tickets are limited and available at

Event Schedule 

6:30 p.m.: New Mexico Taiko Drummers (Main Stage)

The New Mexico Taiko group was founded in 1981 through the New Mexico Japanese American Citizen’s league as an annual event for the Omatsuri festival held in Albuquerque. At this time, the Omatsuri was a time for ethnic Japanese and Japanese-Americans of New Mexico to celebrate their heritage and share it with the greater community.

6:45 p.m.: Tea Ceremony (Atrium)

A Japanese tea ceremony is a ceremonial way of preparing and drinking green tea.

7:15 p.m.: Bon Odori Dancers (Main Stage)

Bon Odori or "Bon dance" is a style of dancing performed during Obon. It is a folk entertainment, which has a history of nearly 600 years.

7:30 p.m.: Tea Ceremony (Atrium)

8:15 p.m.: Shamisen (Main Stage)

The shamisen is a three-stringed traditional Japanese musical instrument.