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Heart Mountain to hold its first Children's Day Festival

Heart Mountain Children's Day
Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation
Japanese American children sitting outside a barrack at Heart Mountain "Relocation Center."

The Heart Mountain Interpretive Center is hosting its first Children's Day Festival on Saturday, May 14.

Out of the nearly 14,000 Japanese-Americans who were incarcerated at Heart Mountain during World War II nearly a third were children.

Heart Mountain's Communications and Marketing Manager Krist Jessup said the festival is based on a traditional Japanese Holiday that celebrates children. Children's Day, or Kodomo no Hi, is a traditional Japanese holiday and has been celebrated in Japan in some form since the 7th century. The holiday celebrates the growth, happiness, and personalities of children.

"It was not celebrated in the camp by the children. It's something that they would have been familiar with before and after camp," said Jessup. So these are activities and celebrations that they would have been familiar with. And the holiday ultimately just honors the growth and happiness and personalities of children in Japan."

Five Bighorn Basin organizations are working with Heart Mountain to offer activities and games for kids. Those include the Powell Homesteader Museum, which will have games that were familiar for kids in the 1940s like jump rope and marbles and Science Kids from Cody.

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