The Kanto Matsuri is also known as the pole lantern festival. It is a Tanabata related celebration in Akita City held annually from August 3rd to 6th. During this, performers display their skills of balancing kanto, a long bamboo pole with paper laterns attached. This, along with the Aomori Nebuta Festival and Sendai Tanabata festival, makes up the three great festivals of Tohoku Region.
The Kanto pole sizes vary, and can go up to 12 meters, 50 kilograms and support up to 46 paper lanterns with real candles. These are hoisted up high in a performance to the sound of drums, flutes, as people chant ‘’Dokkoisho, dokkoisho.’’
The main event, the Night Parades, are held along Chuo Dori street. Performing groups carry up to 250 kanto poles, raising them up in unison, making a spectacular show. Kanto competitions are also held during daytime by the Senshu Park. Each Kanto group competes as either solo or in a larger group and perform to music.