Just as cherry trees begin to burst with pink and white blossoms, the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia presents its annual fête of flowers and Japanese culture, the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, April 1-26.
Celebrating the near forest of sakura (flowering Japanese cherry trees) in historic Fairmount Park, most of which were first planted in 1926 as a gift from the people of Japan, the festival honors Philadelphia’s traditional and contemporary Japanese cultural connections.
Kicking off on April 1, more than 50 events are set to take place over four weeks, ranging from martial arts demonstrations and flower arranging to live drumming and dance performances. Read on for a few festival highlights, and see the complete schedule of events online.
• Japanese Culture Week: During the first week of the festival, April 1-4, visit the rotunda of The Shops at Liberty Place to take part in free interactive lunchtime displays of origami, kimono dressing, calligraphy and the art of flower arrangement, called ikebana.
• KODO: On Monday, March 25, dynamic KODO drummers perform elaborate choreography in an impressive display of artistry in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.
• Sakura Sunday Celebration: Come April 14, the centerpiece of the festival starts with the Cherry Blossom 5K before launching into a day-long Japanese culture extravaganza — all against the backdrop of Japanese cherry trees at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center.
• Cherry Blossom Viewing: To see where the prime cherry-blossom viewing might be in Fairmount Park, check the online map here.
Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia
When: April 1-26
Where: Locations throughout the city
Cost: Varies based on event, but most are free
More info: www.subarucherryblossom.org