Davis Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates Japanese culture and music
The fourth Davis Cherry Blossom Festival will be a regional music festival and celebration of Japanese culture.
Presented by Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan and Sudwerk Brewing Co., the All Ages Weekend features music, food, art, culture and beer. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday April 6 and from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday April 7 at Sudwerk Brewing Co., 2001 Second St. in Davis.
The event includes two stages featuring music and many traditional Japanese drums. There will be food and art vendors, a gallery of local artists, interactive educational and cultural demonstrations, games and more. All of this celebrates the annual arrival of pink cherry blossoms, revered for centuries as a symbol of the beauty and fragility of life. Known as the sakura, the flower is the national flower of Japan. The flowers often coincide with Buddha’s birthday, celebrated on April 8.
Over 30 musical acts will perform over the two days of the festival, including Tanukichan, Jessica Malone, The Brothers Reed, The Midnight Dip and Big Sticky Mess. The event is made possible, in part, by a grant from the City of Davis Arts & Cultural Affairs Fund.
Rachel Hartsough, director of arts and culture for the City of Davis, said the event promises to be a weekend filled with wonderful family activities. “The city is pleased to add the Cherry Blossom Festival to its list of city-supported public events that celebrate culture in our community. We love that the organizers of Cherry Blossom have been incredibly innovative in creating an event open to all, championing many facets of the arts in Davis like taiko and origami, and mindful of leaving a positive and lasting impact on the community. .
Sudwerk will sell a limited edition sakura (cherry blossom) beer in 16-ounce cans, and Davis Creamery will serve ice cream made from Japanese cherry blossoms. A percentage of the proceeds will go to My Sister’s House, a regional shelter specifically for Asian women and those affected by violence and human trafficking.
“Sudwerk is delighted to see this festival – in its fourth year – become a regional celebration of Japanese culture,” said brewery co-owner Trent Yackzan. He said beer lovers in the area will be able to purchase the hoppy and hazy Sakura Haze lager in local supermarkets even after the festival ends. The beer contains Galaxy, Melon and Mosaic hops and contains 6 percent alcohol by volume.
What started out as a student-run event has grown exponentially, with an estimated attendance of over 2,000 people last year over the two days. The festival, or matsuri, celebrates cultural and artistic diversity as well as the beauty of nature.
Other bands include: A Few Drinks In, Busy Lighthouse, Carsick, Cloud Hats, Emmet Francis, golfdads, Indigo Elephant, Katgrüvs, Killer Caribou, Lillian Frances, Lost Again, Psychedelic Dub Orchestra, Sturdy Skeptics, The Chandelier Ravens, The Modern Wild, Violet Island, Your Local Cemetery, B. Hold, Video Game Orchestra, DJ Allen Brookside and Lo & The Mix.
Taiko and cultural shows: Kohaku, Sacramento Taiko Dan, Naoko, Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan, Cal Raijin Taiko, Jiten Daiko and Stanford Taiko.
Historically, taiko has played an important role in the Asian American movement, as an expression of intensity and intentionality in a population stereotyped as passive “model minorities”. In the United States, taiko has also played an important role in the expression and performance of feminine and queer identities.
“Our festival celebrates the diversity of voices shared through music, and through our history we see music as a powerful instrument of social change and a voice for peace and understanding,” said Gregory Wada of Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan .
Demonstrations and activities include: Ikebana (flower arrangement) demonstrations by the Sacramento Chapter of Ikebana International; origami demonstrations by Davis Origami Group; shibori tie-dye with Alicia Decker from UC Davis Design Museum; mochitsuki (making rice cakes) sponsored by the Florin Buddhist Church; shishimai (Japanese lion dance) by Miyo Uchida from the Japanese department of UC Davis; and live painting by Gregory Shilling. Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan will offer community taiko lessons, chochin (paper lantern) decoration and matsuri games.
The artists of the art gallery are: JYNcreations, Pielodoodles, Smada Earrings, Shigeko Fukuya, Jeremy Dang, Alex Ryo Simotake, Kimchi Kawaii, Blythe Nishi, Of the Dirt Pottery, Brad “Brakinja” Kincaide, Celeste Wong Ceramics and Bike City Woodworks.
Street Cravings and Pollo Inferno will have their food trucks there on both days. On Saturdays, Koizora, Underdog Grill and
Davis Creamery will be there too. Sunday, Dumpling House and Puros Churros will be on site. Other vendors include: Kobe Mini Mart, Korndogg Balloon and Face Art, Farm Fresh to You, and SAFE Credit Union.
Other sponsors are: Yolo County Visitors Bureau, UC Davis Global Affairs, Davis Odd Fellows Lodge and the Sacramento Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League. The following organizations provide volunteers: Japanese American Student Society, Nikkei Student Union at UC Davis, and Davis Aggie Lions Club.
For more information, including an entertainment program, visit the festival website at https://davischerryblossomfestival.weebly.com.
Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan, founded in 2001, is UC Davis’s kumidaiko (Japanese percussion ensemble) group, representing the campus on the Taiko Intercollegiate Council. Bakuhatsu means “explosion”, representing the intensity of their performance energy. Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan performs locally and regionally, with a mission to share the love of taiko and promote experiences with Asian-American art and culture. Learn more about http://bakuhatsutaikodan.weebly.com.
Founded in 1989, Sudwerk Brewing Co. specializes in craft beers, particularly West Coast craft lagers. His bar, The Dock, located at 2001 Second St., Davis, is open 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. It offers a rotating menu of experimental and innovative beers, “honest pints” and growler toppings, and good conversation. Learn more about http://sudwerkbrew.com.