This huge festival, normally held annually but cancelled in 2020 for obvious reasons, features enormous and wonderful lighted floats at which noted artists work bringing classic scenes to magical life for an enormous parade, party and the Haneto dance anyone can join -- if you can get your hands on the right yukata, which doesn't seem to be too hard!
Its origins are uncertain, but since it's held in early August, prime farming time, it's thought it's a syncretion of the Tanabata Festival (when a couple turned into stars by angry parents are allowed to meet once a year, mid-summer, to renew their love, usually commemorated with a party and fireworks) and the Nemuri Nagashi, a festival originating in the need to ward off drowsiness during the busiest of the farming season. Why having a gigantic and complicated party during the middle of that time would help farmers stay awake doesn't make much sense to me -- you'd think everybody would sleep for days from the preparation, the exertion and the party's aftereffects -- but apparently a festival was just what everybody needed to renew themselves for the rigors of the harvest season.
The Nebuta Wa-Rasse Museum is just outside Aomori station, and while there is another very interesting (to me, anyway) museum near Shin-Aomori, it was cold and damp and that one's largely a recreation of a Jomon period village, so the Nebuta Wa-Rasse Museum sounded like a better bet for a winter day.
And it was! This is so much fun! I hope that someday I can attend the actual festival, grab a yukata of the correct pattern and join the two million people who come, at least some of them, to dance in the streets! Wa-Rasse is the chant everybody cries as they carry the floats through the streets. It seems to have no real meaning, except to keep rhythm, but as the videos of parades past show, it's chanted loudly and with great enthusiasm.