May is a busy time at the beach! Not only are we preparing to welcome visitors for the summer months, but we also celebrate our special relationship with Mombetsu, Japan every year. Newport and Mombetsu (pronounced mom-bets) have been participating in the sister city's “people-to-people” program since 1966. President Eisenhower created a national sister city program in 1956 as a way to promote world peace by learning from different cultures.
The relationship began when Mombetsu resident Shunichi “Shun” Kobayachi contacted the Newport Rotary Club in 1964 and explained that both cities share the same latitude, the 44th parallel, and could benefit from learning about each other through the sister city program. Newport Rotarian Connie Gates was very receptive and rallied the city to officially establish the relationship, which it did several years later. Since then, delegations of citizens have been traveling between the two cities to learn from one another.
The two cities have also presented each other with gifts that represent the two communities. Newport City Hall has many of these gifts on display, and we even have a Mombetsu Sister City park that’s worth a visit the next time you travel to the beach. The Newport Chamber of Commerce is always ready to welcome you to the beach! Visit newportchamber.org for a detailed calendar of events and a list of local businesses that will take care of every aspect of your stay.