April 10-11 — The Cherry Blossom Festival now in its 9th year will be held once again in the “Little Tokyo District” of downtown Los Angeles. The festival will be on April 10th and 11th with the free entrance at First Street & Central with the Hawaiian Village into Lot 7 by MOCA. It is produced by a 100% volunteer team and the event is a free admission to the public. It is supported by private donations and sponsors with over 45,000 attendees in 2009.
Opening ceremonies will be held on Saturday at 10:40 am featuring Daion Taiko, Koyasan Boy Scouts, National Anthem sung by Gina Hiraizumi and traditional sake barrel breaking & opening toast by Consul General of Japan Junichi Ihara. Performances on main stage include – Japanese Dancing, Taiko and a Kimono Fashion Show. This year the show’s theme produced by Ken Kaneska is Taisho – vintage kimonos of 1910’s to 1920’s accompanied by original music of Chi Saito & Brenda K. of Panache Orchestra and featuring Councilwoman Jan Perry, Best in Festival “Most Photogenic Dog Contest” (Sun at 3:15pm) where online voting and festival voting selects the top 5 dogs. Teacher’s Making a Difference Award; Senator Daniel Inouye Cherry Blossom Leadership Awards; George Kiriyama Educational Excellence Award (Award shows start at 12:30 pm Sat.) and live stage performances. KIDS ACTIVITY AREA – cultural crafts and inflatable games; MARTIAL ARTS ARENA – non-stop martial arts performances and demonstrations; HAWAIIAN VILLAGE – Hula and other live Hawaiian stage entertainment, crafters, vendors and cultural exhibits and on First Street will be ART NAKANE, the One-Man-Band; CULTURAL PAVILION – photo exhibit of WWII Internment Camps, Kimekomi Dolls, Sashiko, Origami and Koi Exhibits to name a few; ONDO DANCING IN THE STREETS (Sat. & Sun. at 2:00 pm); the ever popular CRAFT VENDORS, CORPORATE & COMMERCIAL VENDORS and the Cherry Blossom FOOD COURT
This year kicks off a new stage with a BANG! The J-POP STAGE features a Cosplay Contest on Saturday and Lolita Fashion Show on Sunday. Headlining the J-Pop Stage from Niigata, Japan is 25-year old Japanese Pop Star MASUMI. With the help of Producer Trevor Lawrence, Jr. (Eminem, Alicia Keyes) Masumi was signed to America’s Fortress Records heralding the release of “Baby You” and has soared to the position of #8 on Billboard’s Hot R&B Singles Sales! Masumi will be performing both Sat. (4:00 pm) & Sun (3:00 pm)
2010 Senator Daniel Inouye Cherry Blossom Leadership Awards are: Asian American Drug Abuse Program, Japanese American Medical Association, Nisei Week Foundation. The Community Treasurer Awards is being presented to Okinawa Association of America and the George Kiriyama Educational Excellence Award is being presented to Don T. Nakanishi, Ph.D. The Cherry Blossom Festival is a festival that grows more spectacular yearly and carves a stronger cultural perception to an already history “Little Tokyo” district of Los Angeles for visibility, publicity and tourism; and bridge generations and expose the mainstream population to the diverse Japanese and Japanese American cultural arts and history.