March 22, 2023
Cherry blossom season has nearly arrived in Philadelphia, and there are plenty of ways to see the picturesque pink petals of the city's cherry trees.
One of the best opportunities is the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, which returns to the Horticultural Center and Centennial Arboretum in Fairmount Park on April 15-16. What used to be a single-day celebration of Japanese culture and the return of spring has become a weekend of musical performances and cultural activities.
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Each day features a tea ceremony, flower-arranging workshops and kimono and yukata dressings. Triple Bottom Brewing is hosting an outdoor beer garden, and there is a marketplace that sells gifts and housewares.
The Cherry Blossom Festival is free to attend, but admission to the Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center costs $14 for adults. Timed tickets can be purchased online.
Festivalgoers can enter raffles for various prizes by giving donations. Prizes include festival T-shirts, books, tickets to Shofuso House, a care package, one semester of a virtual Japanese class and round-trip plane tickets to Japan.
There also is a kickoff event at The Fallser Club, at 3721 Midvale Ave. in East Falls, at 7 p.m. Friday, April 14. Tickets cost $20. The event includes performances involving Japanese instruments like the koto and sanshin.
Here is a rundown of what's happening during the free portion of the festival.
The day begins with musical performances that pair Japanese-American performers with artists from Parkside, the predominantly Black neighborhood that borders West Fairmount Park. Performers include HohDaiko, Karen Smith, KyoDaiko, Gabe Preston, Badd Kitti, Casual Fifth, Brown Rice Family and Rino Aise.
In the afternoon, Drexel University students will put on a kimono fashion show. Visitors also can learn how to play shogi, a two-player Japanese board game.
There will be performances from Tamagawa University Taiko Drum and Dance Troupe, Rino Aise, 10tecomai Yosakoi, Masaru Koga, Yoko Nakahashi Fellowship Ensemble, Swarthmore Taiko Ensemble, Keystone Japan Club Choir and Acarajé.
The afternoon includes martial arts demonstrations, origami workshops, the Prettiest Pet in Pink Parade and Subaru's Sushi Samurai of the Year contest.
10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Free
Fairmount Park Horticultural Center
100 N. Horticultural Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19131