This weekend marks a special anniversary for the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens: It’s the event of the 35th annual Cherry Blossom Festival, also known as Sakura Matsuri 2016. The Japanese-inspired festival celebrates the season of the fluffy pink and white blooms and gives great insight into typical Japanese traditions for the spring time of year. Just like in last year’s event, there were a ton of showcases, traditional stands, and costumized people, which made the day worthwhile and entertaining.
This time I managed to get in earlier than last year. Around noon I exited the train station and was already met by the pretty long queue outside of the gardens. However, since I managed to redeem my membership last year, I was able to skip the entire line, which was great. There are also two other entrances, which seemed to be less crowded than the main one (what a relief). I would suggest trying to enter through either one of those.
This fest is not only meant for children, although there is an entire stage area geared towards child’s play and fun activities. The J-Lounge offered stand-up comedy and other perks, while the main stage area was dedicated towards traditional Japanese custom dance. There was also a whole section just for tea (the art and making of), and another for Bonsai trees.
While I did get the chance to watch the one or other performance, it was a bit crowded to get a close look at most. We therefore decided to rest under some cherry trees close to the esplanade and do people watching instead. The abundance of costumes, comic figures, and random appearances was quite eye-catching. It was almost like a never-ending fashion show in Manga-style. Overall, lots of costume figures had nothing much to do with Japanese traditions or cartoons. But they were entertaining nonetheless and always a great picture motive.
Of course the Botanical Garden is amazing by itself. Not only for its cherry blossoms, but also because of its tulips and lavender bushes. Indeed, a great amount of people were caught up in the magnificent smell in between stages and a few family photo sessions were in order.
I believe one of the reasons it was overly crowded yesterday must have been the forecast of rain today. Sakura Matsuri will continue today until 6 pm, despite the grey weather. Make sure to stop by if you’re in the area.