Cherry Blossom Festival to Honor Japanese Culture in Columbus and the State of Ohio

Columbus will host its first-ever Cherry Blossom Festival Saturday through April 1, with an event hosted by the Japanese Student Organization at Ohio Union Sunday. Credit: Madison Kinner | Lantern Reporter

As Columbus welcomes spring, it will also host its first-ever Cherry Blossom Festival, with events scheduled across the city and on the Ohio State campus from Saturday through April 10.

The festival will celebrate Columbus’ cherry blossoms and the 10th anniversary of the gift of 20 cherry trees donated to the city by Japan during the 2012 Columbus Bicentennial Celebration, according to Experience Columbus’ website. The festival will be inspired by the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC, which honors the 110th anniversary of the mayor of Tokyo who donated cherry blossoms to the city, according to the national festival. websiteand.

Marlinda Iyer, president of the Columbus Festival and executive director of International Voluntary Organizations, said most of the festival’s events, such as performances and speakers, will take place in Franklin Park, where the cherry blossoms are. She said this festival is different from other festivals in Columbus because it will be a week-long, citywide event.

“We not only have it at the Adventure Center, but also at Ohio State University and Franklin Park Conservatory, and there are schools that are participating as well,” Iyer said.

On Sunday, the Ohio State Festival will take place in the Ohio Union Performance Hall from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and will be open to everyone with no tickets required for admission, Iyer said.

Led by the Japanese Student Organization, Sho Weinstein, a fourth-year chemical engineering student and president of the group, said hosting a cherry blossom festival in Columbus amid national cherry blossom events is an opportunity. exciting to honor Japanese culture locally.

“Cherry blossoms are Japanese cherry trees, so that’s a really big part of our culture as well, and we really want to highlight that for our event this year,” Weinstein said.

Weinstein said the Ohio State celebration will include booths, games and performances by the Japanese Student Organization and other Asian American Desi Pacific Island organizations such as J2K. He said Ohio State will also offer shuttles to and from Franklin Park.

“It’s going to be good, hopefully there will be a lot of traffic between that as well, so hopefully a few more people will come to our event because of that,” Weinstein said.

Although Ohio State will only participate in one day of the festival, Iyer said she hopes the rest of the festival and events — which will be hosted by other local schools — will encourage members of the community to get out and enjoy the outdoors and the cherry blossoms.

“I hope they will be drawn to the flowers, so that they come to visit it every year, and also realize that the frail, fleeting beauty of these spectacular flowers is a kind of life lesson, how life is short and you have to make the most of it,” Iyer said.

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