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Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival Set For First Saturday in February

In conjunction with the 2012 U.S. Cherry Blossom Centennial in Washington D.C., the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival marks its annual celebration Saturday, Feb. 4 with the planting of cherry tree seedlings gifted from the Embassy of Japan.

Cherry Blossom

Cherry Blossom (Photo by Fern Gavelek)

The living gift of friendship commemorates the first planting of Japanese flowering cherry trees in the nation’s capital and is part of a program to spread the trees into many U.S. states. The two varieties of seedlings to be planted in Hawai‘i were specially chosen for Waimea’s clime by Dr. Tetsuo Koyama, a Honolulu-based botanist formerly of The New York Botanical Garden.

Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom Festival (Photo provided by festival)

In its 19th year, the festival showcases the 60-year-old cherry trees planted at Church Row Park and the Japanese tradition of viewing them—hanami. The event includes a variety of activities 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at venues throughout Waimea—look for pink banners identifying site locations from the Parker Ranch Historic Homes on Mamalahoa Hwy. 190 to the Hawaiian Homestead Farmer’s Market on Hwy. 19.

Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom Festival (photo provided by festival)

Enjoy an all-day lineup of Japanese and multi-cultural performing arts, plus hands-on demonstrations of bonsai, origami, traditional tea ceremony, fun mochi pounding and a host of colorful craft fairs. New this year is a Festival of Quilts display featuring the handiwork of all six local quilt clubs. Enjoy free shuttle transportation among most venues. For info, 808-961-8706.