Despite the unusual weather patterns Philadelphia has had this spring, the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia has arrived just in time to celebrate the season. The festival is an annual event celebrating spring, Japanese culture, and of course, the cherry blossoms.
The festivities kicked off last Saturday and will be running throughout the city until next Monday. Some of this years events include martial arts, arts and crafts like origami and suminagashi paper marbling, Kabuki dance classes, sushi making, kimono dressing, manga pin making, Taiko Drum and Dance performances, and more.
For those looking to get some exercise while enjoying the festivities, the 2018 Cherry Blossom 10k will be at 6:30 AM on Saturday the 14th. This year is the first time the festival will feature a Sake garden at Shofuso House and Garden in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia’s take on the Japanese tradition of picnics under the cherry trees.
The Cherry Blossom festival’s main day of celebration, Sakura Sunday, is an all day celebration of all things Japanese. Sakura Sunday is an indoor and outdoor event that features over 50 vendors, and three stages showcasing music, dance, and martial arts performances as well as cosplay showcases, fashion shows, karaoke, and more. Some of the artists include Tamagawa University’s Taiko Drum and Dance Troupe returning from Tokyo, folk singer Aco Tomine, J-rock band “The Molice,” and the J-MUSIC ensemble. Sakura Sunday will take place from 10 AM to 5 PM this Sunday at the Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park.
The festival began in 1998 as a tree planting initiative by the Japan American Society of Greater Philadelphia, and has grown from a single day ceremony to a collection of over 50 throughout the course of four weeks. The festival’s roots date back to 1926, when Japan gifted Philadelphia 1,600 sakura (flowering Japanese cherry trees). The JASGP returned the favor in 1998 when they pledged to plant 1,000 trees in Fairmount Park, which was completed by 2007 and has expanded into an effort to plant cherry trees in community parks across Philadelphia.
For more information on this years festival, you can visit the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival’s official website at https://www.subarucherryblossom.org.