Cherry Blossom Festival in Ferndale celebrates Japanese culture

Cherry trees blossom along the Hanadori Trail in Ferndale.
Cherry trees blossom along the Hanadori Trail in Ferndale. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

The second annual Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates Japanese art, music and culture from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 16, at Pioneer Pavilion, 2007 Cherry St.

Events start with a 9:30 a.m. ceremony and shakuhachi (bamboo flute) performance on the Hanadori Trail behind the nearby Conoco Phillips Sports Complex, where flowering cherry trees (sakura) are planted. Events for all ages are part of the city’s outreach to its Japanese sister city of Minami-boso, on the coast south of Tokyo.

Okinawa Taiko drummers and dancers from Vancouver, B.C., perform at 10 a.m., and there’s a “Chado: The Way of Tea” ceremony at 11 a.m. with well-known local instructor Shelley Thomas. Also at 11 a.m. is a bonsai demonstration with noted expert George Berkompas of Bellingham.

A kamishibai (paper theater) performance follows at noon and will include a dramatization of the American citizens of Japanese descent who were imprisoned at internment camps during World War II. Fumiko Groves of Seattle, who as a child was held in bleak quarters at Camp Minidoka in Idaho, is a presenter.

Afternoon events include a haiku reading and workshop, an ikebana (flower arranging) demonstration, and from 1-2 p.m. a children’s tea ceremony with origami and kirigami (paper folding and cutting) demonstrations.

Most events are free. For more information and a complete schedule, go online to cityofferndale.org and search “cherry blossom festival” or call Marla Morrow at 360-384-0050.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-715-2805, @bhamMitty