Between March and April, a swath of pink petals blanket Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River from Falls Bridge to the Art Museum as nearly three thousand cherry trees begin their bloom and with it heralds the annual Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival. A gift from Japan to the city nearly 100 years ago; the cherry trees along the river have become a quiet yet brilliantly beautiful fixture of Philadelphia’s riverfront. Between 1998 and 2007 the city planted one thousand additional trees, and over that period the annual Cherry Blossom Festival has flowered into a hallmark.
The central event of the Cherry Blossom Festival is Sakaru Sunday. A day filled with parades, music, art and all things Japanese culture this is also the busiest day to visit the festival. Though peak blossom dates change from year to year, Sakaru Sunday is held as close to the height of the blossom as can be surmised. There are workshops on ink painting, taiko, samari arts and kimono dresses which are taught by volunteers and experts and are a blast for families and enthusiasts. This particular day is very crowded so maybe not the best day for picnicking under the trees, but all the events makes Sakaru Sunday a great day to bring out the family to learn a little about traditional Japanese culture and have fun.
Spread out over a month, the Cherry Blossom Festival covers a long time range and large area. Different events occur daily at different locations so plan ahead. Throughout the month, special movie screenings and events like sushi making and paper model building are sure to inspire and delight. Events for children range from interactive storytelling to hands-on craft making. Live music plays periodically and is a real cultural treat. The trees bisect through the Zoological Garden, Glendinning Rock Garden, Strawberry Mansion, and Belmont Plateau which means plenty points of interest along the blossom trail.
Admission to most events is free. Parking in municipal lots is encouraged