Due to a funding shortage, the Japanese Cultural Fair may not take place for the first time in nearly 30 years
Steven Barisof fell in love with Japanese culture after visiting the country several times with his family starting in 1974. The trips inspired the Santa Cruz resident to attend the local Japanese Cultural Fair for more than 20 years—eventually becoming a volunteer in 2008 and becoming a board member for the nonprofit behind the event shortly after.
The annual festival became a family tradition, and Barisof’s son, who began learning Japanese in the eighth grade, went on to volunteer at the fair in 2008, when he wrote attendee's names in Japanese characters.
However, the Barisofs, along with the thousands of others who attend the fair each year, may not get a chance to partake in the 27th Annual Japanese Cultural Fair this year. The event, which is set to take place at Mission Plaza Park near Downtown Santa Cruz this June, is facing a funding gap that could lead to its cancellation.