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Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival, April 22-24

Join us for Seattle Center Festál:  Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival, 10am-6pm, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 22-24, in Seattle Center Armory, Fisher Pavilion and Seattle Center Pavilion. You’l find a feast for the senses, articulated by Taiko drums, ikebana flowers and intricate artwork that illuminate ancient views of a modern culture.

Organized around the theme “Traditions Today,” this year marks the festival’s 40th anniversary and the 37th edition at Seattle Center. Mayor Ed Murray and Japanese Consul General Masahiro Omura will serve as Honorary Festival Co-Chairs. Both are expected to attend the festival’s opening ceremony, on Friday at 6 pm.

Congressman Jim McDermott will present an exhibition of his sumi-e (black ink) paintings, a visual arts discipline practiced by the Congressman for over 30 years. The Japan Foundation’s traveling exhibition Yakishime, featuring contemporary unglazed ceramics, will receive its world premiere at the festival.

Children may make kites, win prizes in the chopstick challenge and play with traditional Japanese toys. Additional special child-friendly activities on Friday celebrate children’s day at the festival. Create a happi (a short straight-sleeved coat) in a children’s workshop offered Friday at 10:30am and 11:30am. Kimono and armor dress-up opportunities provide fun for festival-goers of all ages.

Rakugoka Kanariya Eiraku and his troupe present English language rakugo, celebrating the 400-year tradition of this form of comic storytelling. Other performance highlights include local groups performing dance, music, taiko drumming and martial arts.

Discover a wide variety of traditional and contemporary Japanese foods including takoyaki (fried octopus), Gyudon beef bowls (rice topped with beef and onion), curry rice, spam musubi (a block of rice topped with spam and wrapped in nori seaweed), Japanese hot dogs, sushi burritos, imagawayaki (red bean cakes) and Japanese pastries. A Japanese gift shop offers books, chopsticks, calligraphy sets, origami paper and other specialty items.

Learn to play the ancient board game Go, fold origami and try Shodo calligraphy at daily workshops. Demonstrations of the Chado tea ceremony and ikebana flower arranging run throughout the festival. The Boeing Asian American Professional Association hosts origami airplane contests, 1pm-3 pm, Saturday and Sunday, on Fisher Pavilion Lawn.

Seattle Center Festál is a program of Seattle Center Productions. Admission is free-of-charge. For more information on this collection of ethnic cultural events and other Seattle Center public programming, visit Seattle Center or call 206 684-7200. Learn more about Seattle Center Festál:  Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival at:  Cherry Blossom Festival.