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Cherry Blossom Festival 2024

Greetings everyone!  We are happy to announce that the 2024 Bethlehem Cherry Blossom Festival will be held on Saturday, April 6th, from 12pm-4pm at the Garden of Serenity.  Stay tuned for updates on some the features and events we will be having this year!

Here's a brief rundown of the schedule and a few changes we've got in store for this year:

12:00 Festival begins

12:15 Opening Remarks

12:30 Iroha Taiko drum performance

1:00 Mochi-making

1:30 Iroha Taiko drum performance

2:30 Iroha Taiko drum performance

3:00 Mochi-making

4:00 Festival ends

One big change we have this year is that our festival is expanding!  After a record turnout last year, we will move some of our booths to the rear of the garden in order to accommodate larger crowds.  Be sure not to leave before you check out what we have back there too!  We're working to get one or two new attractions for you, so give them a try.

The other major change we are instituting this year is timed entry for the tea ceremony.  This is our most popular attraction, which always creates a long line.  In order to keep the area around the tea house clear, we are trying a new system.  Please go to the food tent and get a ticket for the tea ceremony, and you will not have to wait in line directly at the tea house all day, just go there at your time.  Entry will be limited to groups of 3-4 people every 10-15 minutes.  This is the same number of people and frequency of entry that we always have, so total people served during the day will be the same as in the past!  To encourage people to keep their reservation, we will charge a small fee for the tea ceremony tickets.  Standby tickets may become available if we have a lot of people missing their times.

Speaking of fees, it would be a great help to us if you use cash at the festival!  Most of the attractions are free, but for food/drinks and the tea ceremony tickets, cash would be preferred.  We are looking into getting a cashless payment option this year, but not sure if it will be ready in time.

Even if you can't attend our event this year, the blossoms will be open for business for several days and can safely be enjoyed in the outdoors!  The trees are best enjoyed with a homemade picnic lunch, or takeout from one of our local Japanese (or Japanese-adjacent) restaurants, such as The Other Fish, 24 East, Rakkii Ramen, Kumo Sushi, Randevoo, or Steak and Steel Hibachi!

​​The festival takes place around the time our sakura (cherry blossom) trees surrounding city hall are in bloom, which historically occurs in early to mid April.  Instead of having a set date, we try to schedule the festival to coincide with the opening of the blossoms, which varies year to year with the weather.  At our festival, you can:

  • Participate in a tea ceremony

  • Try your hand at the ancient art of calligraphy

  • Create Japanese origami

  • Sample some great Japanese festival food

  • Pound rice into a sweet treat with a giant wooden mallet

  • Have your picture taken in a kimono or yukata

  • And more!

We hope to once again have Shumei America attend our Festival and bring their taiko drumming group from the Shumei center in Lyons Station, PA.  Their thundering Japanese drums were a smash hit last year and we sincerely hope to have them with us again in the future!  Check out their Facebook page for more info if you want to play Japanese taiko drums, or if have an interest in natural agriculture or spiritual healing.

Stop by to enjoy these activities and experience Japanese culture! Be sure to check your local paper or this website for announcements about the next festival.

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