Sister City 2020
Since 2010, Marion has been taking part in a Sister City program to provide global connections and exchanges with Kanie Town, Japan. Despite the 6,000 mile distance, this relationship has grown stronger over the years. Each year, the communities schedule alternating visits to learn about business, education, and cultural differences.
The visiting delegations are made up of leaders and students from each community. The students stay with host families, enabling them to take in as much culture as possible.
Marion Chamber representatives are planning to return to Japan in April 2020. We are currently accepting applications for high school students to take part in this experience. Limited scholarships are currently available for students. If you are interested in becoming part of the delegation, please contact the chamber office by January 15th.
On Saturday, March 23, a ‘welcoming committee’ met the Japanese delegation of 16 students and 7 adults at the St. Louis airport and escorted them to Marion for a Welcome Ceremony held at The Pavilion. At the welcome, they were greeted by City Officials, Chamber members, and members of the community that are tied to the Sister City Program, including the host families. From here, the students head off with their respective host families for a myriad of activities, which will even include a day at the Marion Junior High School. The adults spend their time with our Sister City Committee and participate in a variety of events throughout our area, which this time even included zip lining!
Sunday, March 24
On Sunday, the delegates explored Giant City State Park by climbing its famous Water Tower and enjoyed lunch at Giant City Lodge with State Senator Dale Fowler. After lunch, the group took in the scenery as they zip lined at Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour. Blue Boar hosted the group for dinner, and afterwards they sampled local brews at 618 Taphouse.
Monday, March 25
On Monday, the group visited SIU. They toured the library and met with members of the Paul Simon Institute to learn about state and national government. Afterwards, they enjoyed lunch catered by Crystal's at the arena and hosted by State Representative Dave Severin. In the afternoon, the group visited the Marion Carnegie Library, the Marion Fire Station, Marion Cultural and Civic Center. The students, delegates, members of the public, and civic leaders from both communities met on the Tower Square for a special 'Friendship Bench' presentation. To celebrate the occasion, they enjoyed ice cream at Southern Illinois Mercantile before attending the Marion City Council meeting. After a group presentation to the council, the group walked over to Pookies for dinner and games.
Tuesday, March 26
On Tuesday, the entire delegation met at AISIN for factory tours, presentations, and lunch. In the afternoon, the group went over to the Marion Jr. High for a musical performance. Afterwards, the adult delegates stopped in at various local businesses, including Lavish Bath Bombs, TMG Company, and POSH!. The afternoon ended with helicopter rides provided by Black Diamond Aviation. The group sat down to an amazing farm to table meal at the Hideout, with drinks and karaoke at Martini Joe's.
Wednesday, March 27
On Wednesday morning, the students and delegates regrouped at The Pavilion for breakfast provided by Small's, a tour of the facility, and a farewell presentation. After many goodbyes and tokens of friendship, the group boarded the bus to return to St. Louis. The group arrived safely back to Kanie Town with great memories from this year's visit.
Learn about Kaine Town
2019 Sister City Visit Sponsors
618 Tap House
State Senator Dale Fowler
State Representative Dave Severin
Shuttle Service Provided By:
If you are interested in supporting future Sister City programs & trips, please call the chamber office at 618-997-6311.
2018 Japan visit highlights