Now celebrating its 47th year, the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival is one of California's most prominent celebrations of Asian traditions. Each year, more than 200,000 people attend this dazzling display showcasing the color and grace of the Japanese culture and the diversity of the Japanese-American community.
Taking place over two weekends, the event includes a street fair in San Francisco's Japantown featuring a food bazaar with Japanese cuisine and cooking demonstrations, a children's village, and entertainment stages with performances by Japanese classical and folk dancers, martial artists, taiko drummers, and others.
Guests also enjoy Japanese traditional arts and crafts demonstrations and exhibits in the Japan Center, including flower arrangements, brush/ink painting, bonsai, origami, and doll-making.
On April 12, the festival presents the Cherry Blossom Grand Parade, featuring dozens of floats and more than 1,500 costumed participants from both the Bay Area and Japan, including marching bands, traditional Japanese musicians, kimono-clad dancers, and a mikoshi -- a portable shrine carried on the shoulders of a 100-person contingent. The two-hour-long parade starts at San Francisco City Hall at 1 p.m. and continues to Post and Fillmore Streets in Japantown.
This year's festival will run two weekends: April 12-13 and April 19-20.
Japantown, at Post and Buchanan streets
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