Cherry Blossom Festival this Weekend!

Discover and experience the cultural roots and contemporary influences of Japan through live performances, visual arts, hands-on activities, foods and games at Seattle Center Festál:  Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival, 10 am – 5 pm, Friday, April 25 and 10 am – 6 pm, April 26 and 27, in Seattle Center Armory.

The festival was founded 39 years ago in appreciation of 1,000 cherry trees gifted to Seattle by Prime Minister Takeo Miki on behalf of the Japanese government in commemoration of the United States bicentennial. It is the first ethnic festival to be held at Seattle Center annually and the oldest in the Seattle Center Festál series.

This year’s visual feast includes Taiko drumming, artisan demonstrations and a theatrical stage production, Otokichi, which retells the story of Japanese shipwreck survivors, the first on Washington State’s soil. Farewell Shikata ga nai uses World War II as a visual backdrop for a dance/drama performance about heritage and justice for incarcerated Japanese Americans. As a special treat, Seattle Reign’s Naho Kawasumi will be in attendance at the festival. Naho is also a member of the 2013 gold medal Japan national Olympic women’s soccer team, and will return to Japan this summer to complete its 2014 season.

There will be a display on the third floor of Seattle Center Armory of Japan Foundation’s traveling exhibit, Passage to the Future:  Art from a New Generation in Japan, highlighting the talent of today’s Japanese and Japanese-American artisans.

Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival is presented by the Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival Committee, in conjunction with Seattle Center Festál. For more information, go to www.seattlecenter.com/festal/  or call 206 684-7200 to learn more about Seattle Center Festál and other outstanding public events offered at Seattle Center.