Gunfire, which I had heard so many times before in movies, assaulted my ears.
For a moment, I squinted and my body stiffened.
Perhaps because of the shock, some children even started to cry.
Matchlocks really have quite a discharge.

I shuddered just imagining this crashing sound during a battle. The roar from a matchlock recast my image of the weapon.
This was a rare chance to get a sense of conflict from yesteryear.

The Firearms Festival starts off with the boom of matchlocks, then a procession of floats carrying children playing drums moves by.
Western floats come behind them.
Participants posing as historical figures in the narrative of how guns came to the island follow one after another and wind their way through town.
The thick crowds lining the parade route include adults, children, grandmas, and grandpas, all enjoying the event.


The highlight is when the floats, with drums atop, cross the river.
They have to be hoisted even higher as the float bearers enter the water and wade to the opposite shore.
Apparently, this dates back to the time when the river had to be crossed without a bridge.
Over the ages, it has become a famous part of the festival and scores of spectators have come to see it.
I found myself quite entranced and had to take some pictures of the rare sight. I got some good shots.

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When performances started in the plaza of Nishinoomote Port, things became even more crowded and lively.
There were stalls lining the plaza and people wearing colorful yukata.
The activity and atmosphere of summer festivals sure are nice. I love this kind of event.
What's even nicer about this particular plaza is that it has the ocean right beside it.
It's a fantastic sight when the ocean sunset forms the backdrop for the festival.

The stage in the plaza featured performances from a middle school brass band, university clubs, professional singers, and other groups that boosted the mood even further.
I took in the full experience while enjoying the gentle sea breeze.


When the kinetic energy of the festival was reaching its peak, the lights of the stalls blinked out, cloaking everything in darkness.

A high-pitched whistle was followed by a "boom!"

The first of some 4,000 fireworks had streaked into the sky.

The crowd made little noise and quietly concentrated on watching the show.
I, too, sat on the grass and gazed at the glittering sky.
I followed the path of each shell as it rocketed upward.
The display did not have the bustle and opulence you would find in the city, but I felt like it was the most enjoyable fireworks show I had seen so far.
That was my evening at the Firearms Festival.

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