Photo courtesy City of Richmond
An endearing cultural tradition, and a sure sign of spring’s arrival, the third annual Richmond Cherry Blossom Festival will be in full bloom Sunday, April 7 at Garry Point Park.
Dating back to the seventh century, the cherry blossoms signify renewal and the cycle of life. In Japan, hamani is a centuries-old practice of picknicking under the trees.
Canada’s West Coast is also famous for its cherry trees; home to an estimated 50,000. And the Richmond festival is growing in popularity.
A grove of 255 Akebono cherry trees will provide a stunning backdrop for a day of nature, culture and community. Patrons will also be invited to explore Japanese traditions including the preparation and presentation of matcha in a Sado tea ceremony, while also witnessing the graceful motions of Shodo, Japanese calligraphy or in the rhythm and discipline of a Taiko performance from the Okinawa Taiko group. Children also encouraged to explore the new Chibi-Chan tent with origami and Yo Yo Tsuri (a balloon fishing game). Entertainment will also be provided on the Sakura and Kuno stages throughout the day, with a selection of food stations serving bento boxes, yakatori skewers and Japanese-inspired hot dogs.
The cherry trees in Garry Point Park reflect the strong bond between Richmond and Wakayama sister cities. The trees were planted by the BC Wakayama Kenjin Kai Association with the support of the city, home to one of Canada’s largest Japanese-Canadian communities. Many residents of Japanese descent came from the Wakayama area, including Gihei Kuno, who became Richmond’s first Japanese immigrant in 1887.
The Richmond cherry Blossom Festival is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with free admission.