Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s 30th Annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival: April 30 and May 1, 2011

Posted by Lia Chang

Cherry Blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden © Lia Chang

Cherry Blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden © Lia Chang

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden celebrates their 30th Annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday, April 30th and Sunday, May 1, 2011. The two day festival will feature the best of both traditional and contemporary Japanese arts and culture, including dance, martial arts, manga, costume play (“cosplay”), workshops, demonstrations, and guided tours of the Garden’s Japanese plant collections.

Among the more than 60 events and performances on the schedule for 2011 are a host of new features, including a performance by Morning Musuko, a 15-member brassy J-pop big band; a specially commissioned contemporary dance work by the respected Saeko Ichinohe Dance Company; and a Puzzle Plaza where visitors can immerse themselves in with Sudoku, kakuro, LaQ and the legendary game of go.

Returning favorites include performances by Okinawan-pop stars happyfunsmile and martial artists Samurai Sword Soul, plentiful manga and anime activities including signings by famed manga artists and a live collaboration between Veronica Taylor (the voice of Pokemon) and artist Misako Rocks!, and several hands-on activities for kids to enjoy.

Weeping Cherry Trees in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. © Lia Chang

Weeping Cherry Trees in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. © Lia Chang


During this season celebrating its historic relationship to Japanese culture and horticulture, the Garden reflects on the recent tragic events in Japan, and invites visitors to find opportunities for contemplation amidst its flowering cherries, Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, the bonsai exhibition Graceful Perseverance, and more. At Sakura Matsuri, visitors will be invited to make an origami crane that will eventually join thousands of others sent to Japan as a gesture of support and unity.

Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 1. All activities take place rain or shine, with indoor locations provided for most activities in the event of rain. A detailed schedule for the festival is available at bbg.org/cherries. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and students with ID; kids under 12 and Garden members are admitted free of charge. Admission fees will be charged all weekend, including Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. (On all Saturdays without scheduled public programs, the Garden will continue to extend free admission from 10 a.m. to noon.)

SAKURA MATSURI HIGHLIGHTS: APRIL 30 AND MAY 1, 2010
For a complete schedule of events and performers, visit bbg.org/sakuramatsuri.
Music, Dance, and Martial Arts
• Concerts by fifteen-member Brooklyn-based J-pop big band Morning Musuko
• Earth-shaking taiko drumming by Taiko Masala and Soh Daiko An electric performance by Neo Blues Maki, who blend soul music with traditional enka poetry
• A thrilling karate demonstration with international dojo World Seido Karate
• Expressive traditional classical and Okinawan works by Dancejapan (featuring legendary dancer Sachiyo Ito, who has performed at every Sakura Matsuri since 1981)
• J-Pop Culture: Cosplay, Manga, and Anime
(presented in partnership with the NY Anime Festival)
• BBG’s Parasol Society Promenade through the for the Victorian maidens, boho bo-peeps, and Tokyo goth girls
• Manga and Anime Artist Alley with renowned manga creators signing their best-known works
• A Cosplay Fashion Show featuring over a dozen of the most extraordinary hand-made costumes in the city
• A chance for visitors to interact with their favorite live characters during Improvised Anime
• A Dance Party with performance group IchiP! for visitors to practice the popular Japanese group dance para para with the pros
• Traditional & Contemporary Arts and Culture
• Exquisite urasenke and sohrenyu-style tea ceremonies
• A demonstration of how to make the essential Japanese staple dashi with Brooklyn’s Momo Sushi Shack
• A satellite store from Kinokuniya—America’s largest Japanese bookstore—offering language, travel and art books in addition to a robust selection of manga
• Reflections in Tea, an interactive installation with artist Michele Brody where visitors can pen memories of past experiences with tea
• Vintage kimonos for a visitors to try on
• Gyotaku fish printing art demonstrations for all ages
Flowers, Bonsai, and Garden Tours
• Guided tours of Graceful Perseverance, BBG’s striking new bonsai exhibition, plus a talk with BBG’s curator of the C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum
• Ikebana flower-arranging demonstration and exhibit with expert Fumiko Allinder
• Trained BBG Garden Guide-led tours of the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, Japanese tree peonies (if they are blooming), and flowering cherry collection
For Families
• Hands-on workshops for kids, inspired by both horticulture and Japanese culture, where young ones can make their own tea bag, try taiko drumming, and create miniature Noguchi-inspired sculptures
• An upbeat hanagasa odori flower hat dance parade
• A children’s Suzuki recital from Brooklyn College’s Preparatory Center featuring “Sakura, Sakura” and other pieces for strings
For more information on BBG’s flowering cherries and Hanami events, please visit bbg.org/cherries.