This year's Tanabata Festival will take place on Friday 24 July, Saturday 25 July and Sunday 26 July. The festivities will kick off at 1PM and run until 9PM each day. The road outside the main gate from the first to the second traffic light as well as the main shopping street from the gate intersection up to the third light will be closed to vehicular traffic.
Note: The actual date for Tanabata is 7 July. However Misawa celebrates it on the last weekend in July.
The local merchants will arc bamboo poles across the street and hang colorful (sometimes lighted) decorations of paper and paper mache from the poles. Food, drink and games of chance will be offered along both streets.
While there are a few activities and entertainment that take place during the weekend, the main activitiy is just walking the streets of the festival and observing the decorations.
The main venue for activities will be Chou Koen (Central Park with the train) and the open areas outside the gate.
When I can track down a copy of the event schedule, I will post it here.
The Friendship (Main) Gate will be closed to vehicle traffic from 8am on 24 July until 12:01am on 26 July. You will be able to walk through the gate.
The Levitow (Commissary) Gate will be open to vehicle and pedestrian traffic while the Main gate is closed.
Both Visitor Control Parking Lots outside the main gate will be closed to vehicles from 8am on 22 July until 12:01am on 25 July. Any vehicles left in those lots after 6pm on the 21st will be towed. The BX and Commissary lots will be packed. Ride a bike or walk if you can.