Every year, Vancouver launches into spring with the annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (VCBF), a celebration of the 37,000 pink and blooming cherry trees that can be found throughout the city, from the Japanese Memorial Garden in Stanley Park to Brewers Park at Victoria and 26th and all points in between.
Along with simply enjoying the cherry trees through guided walks, strolls, bike rides, picnics, and gatherings around the blossoms—you can find a complete map of blooming cherry trees here—the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is packed with fun and free activities for all ages, including a Cherry Jam Downtown on March 31 and the Sakura Days Japan Fair, a Japanese festival at the VanDusen Botanical Gardens on April 2 -3.
The kick-off to the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival and a party for Vancouver’s 125th birthday (coming up on April 6, 2011), March 31′s Cherry Jam Downtown is a free concert that features musical traditions from around the world plus local celebrities Spakwus Slulum – Eagle Song Dancers, Chibi Taiko, Jou Tou, and the eclectic Carnival Band. Audiences are encouraged to dance and sing to spring rhythms from guitars, sitars, taiko drums, and accordions.
The other big highlight of the 2011 VCBF is the two-day Sakura Days Japan Fair at the gorgeous VanDusen Botanical Gardens (one of my favourite spots in Vancouver in any season). This Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival) celebrates modern and traditional Japan through the tea ceremony, festival food, origami, ikebana (flower arranging), sake tastings, guided hanami tours (flower viewing), and Haiku Invitational. Held April 2- 3, tickets to Sakura Days can be purchased in advance at the Japan Fair Vancouver website.
The packed 2011 VCBF doesn’t end there. In April, You can also learn to paint with Plein-Air Blossom Painting classes and artist Alfonso Tejada, or you can submit your own Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival / Vancouver 125th Birthday Haiku—a chance to see your poetry displayed across SkyTrain and buses all over Vancouver.
The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival runs throughout March and April, 2011.
Do you have a favourite way to celebrate the cherry blossoms? Please share in the comments!