Plans Announced for First Annual Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival

Plans were unveiled yesterday for the first Annual Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival to be held April 23 through May 4.  Event organizers have kicked-off a fundraising effort to make it possible.

The festival will focus on the beauty cherry tree orchard in the Japanese Garden of Buffalo, which is located behind The Buffalo History Museum. The 12-day festival will include tea ceremonies, Japanese music, dance and drumming, kite flying, a pink and white costume parade, informational sessions on the garden and its cherry trees, cherry sapling sales and a Pink Tie Gala.

cherry blosson logoFestival Chairperson Trudy Stern said the event will give local residents a new rite of Spring where they can shake off their winter blues by reveling in the pink and white cherry blossoms, while being introduced to traditional and modern Japanese culture.

“Snow is falling today, but at festival time there will be showers of beautiful cherry blossoms. There will be outdoor and indoor activities for children and adults,” said Ms. Stern. “

“For those who have never visited the Japanese Garden it will be very memorable to discover this jewel, and for those who cherish this lovely Buffalo treasure, it will be a chance to reconnect and gain a deeper appreciation of the site,” Ms. Stern added.

The Japanese Garden of Buffalo, a symbol of international peace, was a gift from the people of Kanazawa, our sister city in Japan. Kanazawa is home to Kenrokuen Garden, which began as part of an imperial palace and is one of the world’s most famous Japanese gardens.

“The Japanese Consulate in New York is very pleased to support this grass roots celebration. Ambassador Sumio Kusaka has expressed his interest in attending the opening ceremonies and hopes the Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival will grow to become an annual tradition,” said Joseph Koessler,” Honorary Consul-General of Japan at Buffalo.

The Japanese Garden in Buffalo’s cherry trees share the same lineage as Washington, D.C,’s massive cherry tree orchards. Although the Buffalo trees are still saplings (the oldest tree is only about 10 years old), they already burst with beautiful pink and white flowers in late April and early May.

Thomas Herrera-Mischler, President and CEO, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, said the garden has seen significant upgrades in plantings and landscaping over the past several years.

“The many blooming cheery trees in Olmsted’s Delaware Park Japanese Garden are a stunning sight to behold, a gift to the people of Western New York each spring,” Mr. Herrera-Mischler said.

To make the new event possible, organizers need to raise $5,000 in seed money by December 31.  They are employing an online donation campaign through kickstarter.com

“We think a donation to the festival would make an ideal holiday gift that includes a promise of spring blossoms to come. Suggested donations start at $10, which come with a commemorative pin featuring our logo,” Ms. Stern said.

Well-known Buffalo graphic artist Michael Morgulis, of New Buffalo Graphics, Ms. Stern’s husband, has designed the event’s eye-catching logo.  T-shirts, festival posters and limited edition, Morgulis-signed posters are among the premiums for donations between $25 and $500.

Those who donate $700 or more will receive individual tickets or a reserved table for the Pink Tie Cherry Blossom Gala.

A hand-made artisan tea bowl will also be auctioned as a fundraiser and the high bidder will get the seat of “honored guest” at the formal Japanese Tea Ceremony.   For more information on the festival, including a video and links to the donation website go to: www.buffalocherryblossomfestival.com

About the author  ⁄ WCPerspective

Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

5 comments
BillyJ
BillyJ

As mentioned, love the idea of a festival outside of the busy summer schedule... Love the idea of centering it around Japanese culture and the Japanese garden (which actually needs some TLC). But I just can't get with this idea of a Cherry Blossom Festival. First off, as mentioned it's ridiculous to try to plan it around their week long blooms that are different each year. And secondly, why do we think we will be cool for copying DC?  Let DC have it, they have it locked down! Do something original and get notariety that way. Plant some other Japanese plants like irises or Japanese maples, maybe there is some Japanese weeping willows etc. and let's make a name for ourselves that way, the world doesn't care about a copycat, and a half-assed one at that. 

sbrof
sbrof

Great! There goes my peaceful picnic every year under the cherry blossoms...

Rand503
Rand503

Here in Washington, The annual Cherry Blossom festival has taken on a life of it's own.  The tour buses clog the streets and tourists clog the sidewalks.  It's all fun and good, actually, and certainly helps the city at a time of slow tourism in late spring.

One continual problem is projecting exactly when the blossoms will be in full bloom.  There is about one week of peak viewing and overall about 10 days.  But  that window changes each year, and so taht makes planning quite a challenge.  There have been a few years where they were off, and the tourists landed only to see almost nothing.  

There is also a street festival which has grown considerably over the years.  Oddly enough, there is very little in the way of japanese food or tea drinking.  I guess Washington has enough of those places year round.

If Buffalo wishes to do this, it would take pressure off the Washington festival, which is a good thing.  However, it would have to greatly expand the number of trees, which I support.  They really are beautiful.  But I would also like to a see a festival that hgihlight japanese culture, including tea drinking, food, and zen things like meditation, and japanese history and so on.   That would help distinguish it from the DC affair.

300miles
300miles

Great idea!    We need more festivals and events outside of summer.

micahh64
micahh64

@Dominic1960

"I do question whether a cherry blossom festival is best at the Japanese Gardens. Why not the Fruit Belt?"

Are there any Cherry Blossom trees currently planted in the Fruit Belt?  If not, the Japanese Gardens is the only logical place . . .

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