WRITTEN BY AUTUMN CLOUDEN

The annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom festival will return once again to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the fest and will take place from Saturday April 30 to Sunday May 1 from 10 am to 6 pm.

At the two-day event, visitors can partake in more than 60 activities to celebrate contemporary and traditional Japanese culture. Activities include a samurai sword show, taiko-drumming performance by Taiko Masala, tea ceremonies, shogi chess, origami lessons and watercolor illustration demonstrations.

More than 70,000 people attended the festival from around the world last year.

A collection of plants and flowers such as the ‘Ukon’ and Prunus ‘Accolade’ can also be seen through tours of the garden’s Cherry Esplanade, Cherry Walk and Japanese Hill-ad Post Garden Pond. Festivalgoers will learn more about the flowering trees, cherry trees and discover the history behind the seasonal bloom coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the Japanese Hill- and Pond Garden.

Visitors can also purchase a variety of items from vendors such as Raaka Chocolate, Vintage Kimonos and imported gifts from J-Collabo Gallery Shop. Entrance into the garden gives visitor’s access to the rare Mataro Ningyo Doll collection and C.V Starr Bonsai Museum at the Steinhardt Conservatory.

Also at the Cherry Esplanade, the Hanami Ensemble will treat visitors to a cosplay fashion show featuring live musical performance. Kids are encouraged to join the festivities by participating in photo-ops, magic acts, hands-on manga drawing sessions with Misako Rocks and making their own origami to keep.

Tickets for the festival are $25 for adults and $20 for seniors 65 or older. Students with a valid ID can purchase tickets for $20. The festival is free for Brooklyn Botanical Garden members and children under 12.