The City of Abilene’s Abilene-Omitama Sister City Board hosted the 16th delegation from Japan at a welcoming dinner Friday, July 28, at the Abilene Community Center.
The sister cities exchange delegations every other year, with the Japanese guests visiting Abilene in odd years and Abilene sending a delegation to Japan in even years.
This year Omitama sent 20 delegates — 16 students and four adults. They began their stay Friday with a walk around town, a visit to some public facilities and bowling. They will leave Aug. 7.
While in Abilene, the delegates will stay with one of 22 local host families for five days and then with another host family for the other five days.
The itinerary planned for the group includes:
• A visit to Prairie Lavendar Farm and Rock City.
• Participation in a mini-Pioneer Camp presented by the Dickinson County Heritage Center, where the delegates will learn some of the games pioneer children played and how pioneers cooked.
• Making a ceramic piece at the Bob Bow art studio.
• A visit to the Eisenhower Library, Museum and Boyhood Home.
• A tour of Land Pride, where they will meet two employees from Japan.
• Attendance at the Central Kansas Free Fair, parade and rodeo.
• A tour of the Lazy Heart Bison Ranch and Kansas State University, its iwhere they will visit its insect museum and then Call Hall to sample its ice cream.
The Sister City relationship developed from Japanese interns coming to the Harold Scanlan dairy farm to learn about U.S. dairy operations. In 1984, an agreement to form a Sister City relationship between Abilene and Minori, Japan, was signed. Since that time, adult and student delegations have made annual visits to each other’s towns.
The Sister City Committee has identified student exchanges/youth friendships, daily life experience and cultural experience as the main emphasis of the program.