PORT Stephens Sister City program is celebrating its 30th Anniversary and the region is about to gain from the cultural exchange.
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The anniversary celebrations will include international sporting, cultural and educational exchanges, and mayoral receptions.
All Port Stephens Sister Cities, Yugawara, Tateyama and Kushiro in Japan and Bellingham will participate in the exchanges.
16 dancers from Bellingham, Port Stephens’ sister city in Washington State will perform at schools in Raymond Terrace, Salamander, Nelson Bay and Shoal Bay in July.
Families connected with the Robyn Yvette Dance Company will provide home hosting for the visitors.
Continuing in sharing our region and sport the Sister Cities program will see seven marathon runners from Bellingham and Tateyama will compete in the Hunter Valley Winery Running Festival, with members of the Nelson Bay Hash House Harriers arranging to home host the runners and assist with transport.
In August, six young students from Yugawara will attend classes at St Philips Christian College and be home hosted by St Philips families.
Three runners from Port Stephens are invited to take part in the annual Bellingham Bay Marathon on 30 September in scenic northwest Washington.
The final celebration of the 30th Anniversary will see 17 members of the Port Stephens SeaSide Singers travelling to Japan for 17 days, performing at each of the three sister cities and at iconic local venues including art galleries and museums, as well as joining in workshops with Japanese choral groups.
Nigel Dique Chairman for Port Stephens Sister Cities told News Of The Area, “Being a part of an exchange gives a unique insight into cultures which you can’t achieve travelling and staying in hotels, you form friendships for life, it can be a wonderfully enriching experience.”
Port Stephens Sister Cities Committee, formed in 1988, its genesis was in discussions leading up to the construction in 1983 of the Tomago aluminium smelter, which was designed along the lines of one in Bellingham.
By Marian SAMPSON