This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
Greet spring with a warm konnichiwa – or hello in Japanese – at this year’s Orange County Cherry Blossom Festival. During the weekend of March 15 – 17, thousands will gather at Huntington Beach’s Central Park to celebrate the richness of Japanese and Japanese American culture in Southern California. Sakura Matsuri, or Cherry Blossom Festival, is a widespread tradition in Japan and celebrates the gorgeous pink blossoms of the cherry tree, spring’s arrival and represents a time of renewal and enjoyment of nature.The 2019 Orange County Cherry Blossom Festival expands on this tradition and celebrates the food, drink, crafts, music, and dance of Japanese Americans and the rootedness and hybridity of this culture in SoCal. The Festival provides the broader community with an opportunity to see and hear traditional elements of Japanese culture as well the many contemporary and hybrid forms that have emerged in the United States. Whether it is taiko drumming, folk music, classical dance, jazz, cosplay dance troupes, symphonic rock, DJs, crafts, Asahi, sake, Nintendo Switch tournaments or the 20+ food vendors, the festival is sure to offer something for everyone to enjoy.This free event features more than 50 vendors and 27 different performing groups. The Festival will for the first time include two evening events, the Sakura Night Market, spanning two evenings Friday 3/15 and Saturday 3/16 where the whole park will be lit up with excitement, food, drink, and entertainment. Now in its sixth year, the OC Cherry Blossom Festival is a beloved annual event that was inspired by and honors Huntington Beach’s very own sister city, Anjo, Japan. The festival also raises the funds to run a youth exchange program, sending local students to Japan to experience the culture of Anjo first-hand. In return, local families host Japanese students who gain a better understanding our local community and way of life. Huntington Beach’s connection to Anjo, Japan dates back to 1982 and the Sister City program was officially incorporated in 1992, forever connecting the two cities and their traditions.
The Cherry Blossom Festival hours are as follows:
- Friday, March 15 from 5 – 9pm
- Saturday, March 16 from 10am – 9pm
- Sunday, March 17 from 10am – 4pm
The festival will take place at Central Park, 18000 Goldenwest St. in Huntington Beach. For more information please visit occbfest.com.
Images are property of the Cherry Blossom Festival and used with permission.