A delegation from the City of Lacombe is making a special trip to their sister town in Japan to celebrate 25 years of partnership.
Eight representatives from the Central Alberta community left for Rikubetsu on Sunday to celebrate the quarter-century of relationships between the communities.
The event was planned for last year but was delayed due to last year’s earthquake and tsunami.
Representatives include residents from the city, members of Lacombe and District Rikubetsu Friendship Society and city Councillor Grant Creasey.
President of the friendship society, Kelly Holyoak, said the delayed celebration has been anxiously anticipated and will help strengthen the long history of international friendship.
Lacombe erected a torii at Bruns Pond Park last fall to commemorate the occasion. The torii is a symbol of Shinto religion that represents a gateway to nature’s landscape.
As part of the relationship between the communities, Rikubetsu sends a delegation of students and chaperones to Lacombe annually. To date, 400 people from Rikubetsu have visited Lacombe. A total of 79 people in 11 delegations have gone from Lacombe to Rikubetsu.
Creasey said the visit helps confirm the importance of the relationship with their twin town.
“We appreciate the Town of Rikubetsu’s commitment in sending a delegation annually, and feel it is important to have a local group visit Japan in order to maintain the connections and friendships that have been established over the years.”