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Seattle Cherry Blossom Fest, Apr 13 – 15

Seattle Center Festál: Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival, April 13 – 15, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., in the Armory/Center House, Fisher Pavilion and Seattle Center Pavilion, explores the cultural roots and contemporary influences of Japen through live performances, cultural displays, hands-on activities, nese foods, children’s activities, and a lively marketplace.

The 2012 Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival features Taiko drumming, artisan demonstrations, and a special cherry tree planting ceremony celebrating The Next Fifty and commemorating the 100th anniversary of the City of Toyko’s gift of 3,020 trees to Washington, DC. Seattle is one of 13 U.S. cities to receive cherry trees from Japan through the Cherry Blossom Centennial Initiative, and these will be presented at the Opening Ceremony by former Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Naoko Yamazaki, who carried the Seattle cherry blossoms into space in 2010. The tree will remain at Seattle Center during the six-month celebration The Next 50 as a symbol of sustainability in the Japan-United States firendship.

The Cherry Blossom Festival also celebrates Japanese string traditions past and present, and will present “Harps:  East Meets West,” a concert by Tomoko Sugawara, Apr 14, 4 p.m. – 5 p.m., at Fisher Pavilion. The festival also features updates via speakers and videos on the earthquake and tsunami of 2011; readings commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japanese internment during World War II; a screening of Great Grandfather’s Drum, with producer Victoria Lewin; a symposium, Sci-Tech Access, addressing sustainable resources and Eco-Sense technology; and an open discussion, Money Over Everything? What Matters Most to Us?

The 20 Seattle Center Festál cultural celebrations highlight the common forms of tradition and expression among ethnic communities in the Pacific Northwest, while underscoring their unique creative contributions, customs, foods and ideals. Each event offers moving entertainment and fascinating insight into a different culture of the world.

Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival is part of The Next Fifty at Seattle Center in 2012. The Festival is produced by Seattle Cerry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival Committee in partnership with Seattle Center. For more information on this cultural series and other Seattle Center public programming, click on