Sakura Matsuri Festival
by Lydia Stetson
Apr 24, 2013 | 2541 views | 0 0 comments | 160 160 recommendations | email to a friend | print
To most New Yorkers, spring is a brief three-week stint when the temperature rises to the mere 50s, brutal allergies kick in and we get to shed our puffy coats we’ve been lugging around for the last nine months.

But the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) welcomes everyone to bring in this short (and sweet?) season with a celebration in what is usually considered New York’s rite of spring.

On the weekend of April 27 and 28, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the BBG will host the Sakura Matsuri Festival, celebrating the ancient Japanese tradition of Hanami; enjoying the cherry blossom season.

“It is one of the largest and most diverse than anywhere else in the world outside of Japan,” said BBG spokesperson Kate Blumm. “We see tens of thousands of people each year that come in to walk the ground and enjoy the wide mix of culture.”

The festival, held on the annual cherry blossom display, encourages attendees to learn about the ancient tradition of Hanami, the Japanese culture and to take in the beauty of their trees in bloom.

For spring in 2013, the BBG is proud to announce that they will have more than 60 performances such as a cobu drum group performance on Saturday, and the Cosplay Fashion Show in partnership with New York Comic Con on Sunday.

This year’s festival has all sorts of performances and activities open to all kinds of audiences. For children, the BBG will be leading hands on workshops, letting kids get artsy with origami, manga drawing, rice shakers and Taiko drumming.

For those more interested in Japanese pop culture, they have Anime drawing workshops and demonstrations with manga comic masters, Misako Rocks and Ukiyo-e illustrator Jed Henry.

Another popular event is BBG’s Parasol Society game that shows off Japan’s modern Harajuku street fashion style where hundreds of Tokyo goth girls, Victorian maidens and sweet shepherdesses will play lighthearted lawn activities.

But don’t worry, if modern Japanese pop culture is a bit overwhelming, there’s always the fascinating side of traditional Japanese culture going back to the Asuka periods and days of the samurai. There are numerous activities to participate in such as traditional tea ceremonies, Ikebana flower arranging, Japanese folk dance, martial arts dramas and much more.

“The real common thread for all the programming at Sakura Matsuri is the appreciation of the Sakura and the flowering cherry trees,” Blumm said. “No matter your age, everybody comes to the garden to appreciate them.”

Admission to Sakura Matsuri is $20 for adults, $10 for students (12 to 17) and seniors (65 and over). BBG members and children under 12 years of age can enter for free. The BBG is extremely excited for this annual festival, promising to host the event in rain or shine.

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