Cherry Blossom Festival @ Japanese Friendship Garden


Spring is in the air! … well almost! This past weekend I took a trip with friends down to the historic San Diego Balboa Park for the 8th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival hosted by the Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego.
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The scenery looked quite painterly, complete with terraces, scenic paths, and lots of colorful cherry blossom trees. Admission to this event was only $4 for Adults and $3 for Students / Military, with the proceeds benefiting the garden’s maintenance, history and culture.  Entry wasn’t too long of a wait but there was a consistently long line up until the last hour of the festival. Once inside the gates, attendees were free to roam the various paths. Some of the festival highlights included: cultural performances by local organizations, a beer garden (an additional $5 fee), a kids’ fun zone, bonsai demonstrations, vendors and tons of delicious food. 
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My curiosity took us to along the main path down into the cherry blossom valley to see what activities were happening near the main stage. We arrived just in the nick of time to watch the Taiko Drummers perform. (The taiko is drum used in many Japanese folk and classical performances.)  I’m a fan of percussion and this was right up my alley. Hearing the rhythmical drumbeats made me think of how these very same performances were conducted centuries ago in ancient Japan. It’s amazing to realize traditions such as these have withstood the test of time and continue to play a major role in the people’s culture.
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Fun Facts: Cherry blossoms, don’t produce cherries at all. They are celebrated in the Japanese culture both for their beauty and symbolism of mortality because of their quick blooming cycle. 

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