The spring blooms are just beginning to peek out, and this weekend a tremendous festival in Fairmount Park celebrates the advent of spring.
Philadelphia’s annual fête of flowers and Japanese culture, the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, has bloomed throughout the city this week, and wraps this weekend with a day-long alfresco affair.
This Sunday, April 12, the festival culminates with the Japanese culture extravaganza Sakura Sunday in Fairmount Park from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A celebration of all things Japanese, the day-long fest includes a ton of activities — from live music and dance performances, to martial arts demonstrations and karaoke.
Read on for more on this not-to-miss spring festival.
Performances & Contests
A full schedule of activities and performances activate the parkland surrounding the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center and the Shofuso Japanese tea house.
Look out for highlights like the Harajuku Fashion Show, tours of Shofuso Japanese garden house and the Subaru Sushi Samurai of the Year Competition — just to name a few events.
On the main stage, Japan’s Tamagawa Taiko Drum & Dance group will perform traditional and original Japanese works featuring powerful choreography and vibrant costumes. Shows are set for 9:15 a.m., 10:15 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Plus, don’t miss the Prettiest Pet in Pink contest for cats and dogs, along with the Cosplay Fashion Show, which will feature colorful costumes inspired by Japan’s anime culture.
All afternoon, family-friendly activities range from martial arts demonstrations to origami, calligraphy and tea ceremony workshops.
Throughout the day, tours of Shofuso Japanese House & Garden will be available, as well. Timed, ticketed tours will be available every 10 minutes for an additional $5.
For a full listing of performance and activities, see below or check right here.
For more on the festival, see below.
Tickets, Getting There & Staying Over
Admission to Sakura Sunday is $10 for adults, and free for children 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased at the gate in cash, or — better yet! — early bird tickets are available online for $7.
Though nearby parking is available at the Mann Music Center for $10, the easiest way to arrive at Fairmount Park for the fest may just be via the Sakura Sunday shuttle bus, which runs continuously between 30th Street Station and the festival between 8:45 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. There is no set schedule, and the pick-up point is on the south side of Market Street (between 29th and 30th streets) in the cut-out in front of the IRS building.
To ride the shuttle, tickets are $5, and the full $15 (admission and roundtrip shuttle fare) is due before boarding. The return trip only tickets (an additional $5) are available for purchase prior to departing the festival grounds.
You could just make a big spring weekend out of the festival and stay overnight in Philadelphia. Check out Visitphilly.com for super deals on hotel stays and the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package.
For the complete festival map, see below. For even more information on this floral affair, check here.
And remember, the cherry blossoms don’t wilt once the festival ends! The many flowering trees along Kelly Drive will hit peak blooming season around April 18-23.
To see where the prime cherry-blossom viewing might be in Fairmount Park, check our guide to the best places for cherry-blossom viewing in Philadelphia.