PRESS CONFERENCE THIS SATURDAY, APRIL 30 AT 12 NOON ON THE PORTICO OF THE BUFFALO HISTORY MUSEUM
Buffalo, N.Y. Welcome the end of winter with the return of spring’s most colorful sign: cherry blossoms. The 3rd Annual Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival takes place, April 30 through May 7. Visitors will enjoy music, tea ceremonies, movies, family activities and more.
“At Wegmans, we have a commitment to our employees, our customers, and our entire community to support the places we live, work and play,” said Michele Mehaffy, Wegmans consumer affairs manager. “Buffalo’s Olmsted Parks — and the Japanese Gardens — belong to all of us. Wegmans is proud to support this new initiative, and know visitors to the Japanese Gardens will enjoy this mobile audio tour.”
Events will include a “Cherry Jam” for musicians, a Music is Art “Instrument Zoo,” a Hula Hooping, the “Cherry Blossom Challenge” Orienteering Event, which navigates through Olmsted’s scenic Delaware Park, The North Park Theatre on Hertel Avenue will show classic Japanese movies including the original “Shall we Dansu.” Rides in pink cherry blossom boats will be offered on Mirror Lake. Cosplay enthusiasts are encouraged to come to festival events in costume. The festival spans two weekends.
“The annual Cherry Blossom Festival is one of Buffalo’s popular springtime celebrations,” said Mayor Byron Brown. “The festival is a great way for city residents and visitors to experience first-hand why Delaware Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, is one of the top ten best urban parks in the world and also recognized as one of the ‘Great Places in America’. Through the City of Buffalo’s unique partnership with Olmsted Parks Conservancy, our sprawling network of parks makes Buffalo a world-class destination to live, work and invest. The Cherry Blossom Festival, located at the Japanese Garden, is a significant part of the progress and a great way to usher in spring, while commemorating the lasting friendship between Buffalo and the people of our Sister City, Kanazawa, Japan, who donated dozens of cherry trees in recent years as a gift. We look forward to great fun, friends and of course, beautiful pink blooms.”
On Thursday, May 5, a fundraising blossom viewing event titled, ‘A Sakura Spring Party: An Evening of Cherry Blossoms, Cocktails and Canapes,” will feature the Buffalo Tango Orkestra and light catering by Oliver’s. Net proceeds raised will support this year’s goal of rebuilding and replacing the torii gate at the entrance to the Japanese Garden and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. Tickets are available online at www.buffalocherryblossomfestival.org.
“The Mentholatum Company is committed to our hard working employees, our customers and our community,” said Mentholatum’s vice president and CEO Steve Hossenlopp. “We are proud to sponsor the Cherry Blossom Festival for the second year in a row and be part of this wonderful event. Please be sure to visit the Japanese Garden, which was gifted from Buffalo’s sister city Kanazawa, Japan.”
Cherry Blossoms, or sakura in Japanese, are a symbol of spring. Their ephemeral beauty reminds us of our own short life, well lived. There is a magical quality to cherry trees in bloom. The Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival is one of fewer than 30 cherry blossom celebrations nationwide and the only one in Western New York.
“The 3rd annual Cherry Blossom Festival wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of the Friends of the Japanese Garden and amazing corporate support from Wegmans and Mentholatum, the City of Buffalo and so many other community partners.” said Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy’s executive director Stephanie Crockatt. “A very special thank you should also go to Jim Mendola who volunteered to write the historic scripts for the new mobile audio tour at the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park. Visitors won’t want to miss this new interactive feature.”
In Japan, cherry blossom celebrations include attending a hanami or flower viewing with friends, family, and colleagues. Picnics and parties under the cherry blossoms are a common sight in spring. The Friends of the Japanese Garden, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, and host sponsor, The Buffalo History Museum invite Western New Yorkers to take advantage of this once-a-year celebration of nature. Bring picnics or just stroll through the Japanese Garden.
The Cherry Blossom Festival has these major goals: raising awareness of the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park, raising funds both to help maintain these six serene acres in Delaware Park and to actively encourage a widespread planting of ornamental cherry trees throughout Buffalo. Western New York is already famous for its winter snow blizzards — with a push toward planting ornamental cherry trees, spring will arrive with a different kind of blizzard to celebrate.
Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival Schedule
Most events take place at The Buffalo History Museum (TBHM)* and the Japanese Garden in
Delaware Park, 1 Museum Court, off Elmwood Avenue and Nottingham Terrace. Cherry Blossom
Festival Events are free. Entrance fee may be charged by host location on some days.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
Saturday, April 30:
Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival Press Conference and Opening Ceremony at The Buffalo History Museum from 12 noon
View a traditional tea ceremony on the portico; kick-off of the new self-guided mobile audio tour of the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park, presented by Wegmans; tour the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park
Sunday, May 1:
Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival Family Day at The Buffalo History Museum, 12 noon – 4:00 p.m.
Family Day including puppet shows (1:00 and 2:30 p.m.), music, origami, dancers, crafts for children, pink boat rides on Mirror Lake, food trucks, free museum admission
Saturday & Sunday, April 30 & May 1:
‘Shall We Dansu,’ Japanese Film Festival at North Park Theatre from 11:30 a.m.
A warm and humorous story of an uptight Japanese worker whose midlife crisis takes him on a journey of personal discovery in a Tokyo dance class
Wednesday, May 4:
Lecture: President Millard Fillmore and the Opening of Japan, 1853 – 1855, at The Buffalo History Museum*, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Buffalo Presidential Center presentation featuring a public lecture by Dr. Thomas Burkman, former director of Asian Studies from the University at Buffalo
Thursday, May 5:
Sakura Spring Party – cherry blossom viewing cocktail party at The Buffalo History Museum, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Enjoy an evening of live music, hors d’oeuvres, and drinks in the Great Hall and portico overlooking the cherry trees
Friday, May 6:
Hoppy Hour at Marcy Casino, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
A First Friday party at the Marcy Casino with a cherry blossom celebration
Saturday, May 7:
Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival Music Day, 12 noon – 4:00 p.m.
Musical jams, instrument zoo, drum circle, hula hooping, acoustic music in the garden, orienteering, plein air painters, pink boat rides on Mirror Lake, grand finale parade, food trucks, free museum admission
*TBHM admission: $7 adults, $5 seniors and students, $2.50 children, members free. www.buffalohistory.org. Phone: 716-873-9644, ext: 301. For more festival information, an up-to-date schedule and to purchase cocktail party tickets online, visit www.buffalocherryblossomfestival.org.
Special thanks to the following for the making the mobile audio tour of the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park possible:
Audio Production by Lemur Studios
Researched and written by Jim Mendola, volunteer historian/archivist
Narrated by Linda Pellegrino
Produced by Tourwand
Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is an 88-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The family-owned company, recognized as an industry leader and innovator, is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016. Wegmans has been named one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ by FORTUNE magazine for 19 consecutive years, ranking #4 in 2016. The company also ranked #1 for Corporate Reputation, among the 100 ‘most-visible companies’ nationwide in the 2014 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient® study. wegmans.com
The Mentholatum Company was founded in 1889 in Wichita, Kansas. Mentholatum started out as a small purveyor of soaps and toiletries and has now grown into a global health and wellness company with a reputation for quality and value. This year Mentholatum celebrates 127 years of business; with 113 years in the Buffalo, NY area. In 1988, Mentholatum became a subsidiary of Rohto Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd., a Japanese OTC pharmaceutical company based in Osaka, Japan. Rohto and Mentholatum are dedicated to providing effective solutions for our consumers’ personal needs through the development of high quality, innovative products. metholatum.com
About the Friends of the Japanese Garden
The Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival takes place in the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park, which is maintained by the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy (BOPC). Its cherry tree orchard is situated in a picturesque location; the Statue of President Lincoln, which sits atop the portico of The Buffalo History Museum, gazes out into the orchard with Mirror Lake providing a frame for this colorful, yet peaceful garden. Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival
The Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival is organized by The Friends of the Japanese Garden, a volunteer organization that supports Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy’s goal of caring for the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park. The BOPC is a 501 (c)(3) not-profit, membership-based, community organization whose mission is to promote, preserve, restore, enhance, and maintain the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed parks and parkways in the Greater Buffalo area for current and future generations. All net proceeds raised from the Festival are used to preserve and enhance the special nature of this garden.
About the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy
The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is the first nonprofit organization in the nation to manage and operate an entire urban park system that consists of 850 acres of beautifully designed parks, parkways and circles. The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is a membership-based, community organization whose mission is to promote, preserve, restore, enhance, and maintain the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed parks and parkways in the Greater Buffalo area for current and future generations. More than 2.5 million people use Buffalo’s historic, award-winning Olmsted Park System annually for recreation, relaxation and rejuvenation. The parks were designed by America’s first landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, more than 145 years ago. Basic maintenance of the parks has been greatly improved since the 2004 groundbreaking public/private agreement with the City of Buffalo and Erie County. Since that time, the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, now partnering with the City of Buffalo, has retained full responsibility for the management and care of these green spaces, which are listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places. In 2014, the American Planning Association recognized Delaware Park as on of the the Great Places in America. Most recently, The Guardian named the Olmsted park system as one of the Top 10 Parks in the World. bfloparks.org
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