Monterey Park Cherry Blossom Festival to Celebrate Japanese Culture

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MONTEREY PARK — The 2013 Cherry Blossom Festival Committee and the City of Monterey Park present the 16th annual Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday, April 20, from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 21, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Barnes Park, 350 S. McPherrin Ave., Monterey Park. Entry is free.

Local news anchors Frank Buckley and Susan Hirasuna will serve as emcees.

The Cherry Blossom Festival has a long history of being held in Monterey Park since the early 1970s. Discontinued shortly after, it was resurrected by a group of community volunteers in 1997. Their efforts were realized through the successful reestablishment of the festival in April 1998.

Monterey Park’s festival is held in April, coinciding with the national festival held in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the 1912 gift to the nation’s capital of 3,000 cherry trees from the city of Tokyo.

Organized completely by community volunteers, the festival’s goal is to showcase the Japanese culture through a number of exhibits, demonstrations and traditional performances, all at no cost to the public.

Special guests and emcees include: Frank Buckley, KTLA 5 morning news anchor; Susan Hirasuna, Fox 11 weekend anchor; Consul General of Japan Jun Niimi; June Kuramoto, who plays koto for the band Hiroshima and is also a solo artist; and Shin Ito, director of Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches (A3M).

Representing the third annual Miss Kimono L.A. contest will be Miss Kimono 2013 Lucia Scriven, First Runner-up Keiko Terashima , and Mr. Kimono 2013 Andrew Reeder.

The performance schedule is as follows:

Saturday, April 20

Field Stage

Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko

11 a.m.: Yuujou Taiko

11:30 a.m.: Mark Keppel High School Aztec Singers

12 p.m.: Opening ceremony

12:30 p.m.: Yoki Daiko

1 p.m.: Torres Kempo Karate

1:30 p.m.: Halau Hula ‘a’ ala Anuhea

2 p.m.: Ajuku Girls

2:30 p.m.: Local Mojo

Local Mojo

3:15 p.m.: Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko

3:45 p.m.: Bando Hidesomi

4:15 p.m.: Jishin Taiko

4:45 p.m.: Phyllis Chang

Indoor Demonstration Stage

1:30 p.m.: Lolita Fashion Show

Andy Matsuda, Sushi Chef Institute

2 p.m.: Sushi demonstration by Andy Matsuda of the Sushi Chef Institute

3 p.m.: Manju demonstration by Brian Kito of Fugetsu-do

4 p.m.: Illusions by Allen Oshiro

5 p.m.: Sunny and Judy Seki: Children’s folk tales

Sunday, April 21

Field Stage

11 a.m.: Mark Keppel High School Pep Band

June Kuramoto

11:30 a.m.: Kishin Daiko

12 p.m.: Kuntau Martial Arts

12:30 p.m.: Koshin Taiko

1 p.m.: U.S.-Chinese Wu Shu Martial Arts

1:20 p.m: Azuma Kotobuki Kai

2 p.m.: June Kuramoto

3 p.m.: TAIKOPROJECT/Bombu/Kitsune/Tanuki Taiko

3:45 p.m.: Ohana Polynesian Dancers

Ajuku Girls

4:15 p.m.: Garvey Ranch Dojo

4:45 p.m.: Taiko Center of Los Angeles

Indoor Demonstration Stage

11:30 a.m.: Kayama Puppet Troupe

12:30 p.m.: Kyo no Kai Kabuki

1:30 p.m.: Urasenke Tea Ceremony

2 p.m.: Nagauta: Traditional Japanese music and kabuki dance

2:45 p.m.: Anime Cosplay “Costume Play” Contest

3:30 p.m.: Kotobuki no Kai

Kotobuki no Kai

4 p.m.: Magic Wayne

5 p.m.: Mele O’hana Ukulele

(Performers and times subject to change without notice)

On both days, Sogetsu Ikebana will offer mini-flower arranging classes from 2 to 5 p.m. Materials fee: $5.

Demonstrators/exhibitors include Hirofumi Kai and Yukari Kai (Japanese dolls), Urasenke School (tea ceremony), Sushi Chef Institute, and Fugetsu-do (Japanese confections).

Food Court

The Food Court will feature a variety of offerings from local organizations and businesses:

Takoyaki Tanota

Chicken teriyaki, sodas, bottled water (Cherry Blossom Festival Committee)

Kalbi (Mark Keppel High School Alliance)

Chili rice bowl, chicken curry bowl (Mark Keppel High School PTSA)

Chinese chicken salad, Spam musubi (Monterey Park Mustangs)

Somen, hot dogs, chili dogs, nachos (Nishi Judo Club)

Sushi (Sushi Chef Institute)

Takoyaki (Takoyaki Tanota LLC)

Shaved ice, Imagawa yaki, churros (Eastside Optimist Club)

Wagashi from Fugetsudo

Manju (Fugetsu-Do)

Passion fruit iced tea, wintermelon tea (Dharma Seal Temple BOCA Youth Group)

italian ice, strawberry lemonade, root beer float, boba milk tea, Thai iced tea, flavored iced tea (Kwee Concessions)

Kettle popcorn, roasted corn, yams (Pueri Cantores of S.G.)

Fresh produce, plants (Sage Granada Park United Methodist Church Japanese Language School)

Exhibitors include watercolor artist Osamu Saito and Stone Ishimaru, who will present an internment camp photo display.

Watercolor by Osamu Saito

The festival also features craft/commercial vendors, free craft activities for kids, and fun games with prizes.

Stop by the information booth to purchase raffle tickets for $2 each. All proceeds will go to fund next year’s festival and you may win a prize donated by the festival’s sponsors. The grand prize is $1,000; restaurant, salon, car wash and nursery certificates are also available. Drawing will be held on Sunday. Winner need not be present.

This year’s sponsors include:

Platinum — Atlantic Square

Gold — Hanayagi Rokufukumi Dance Group, Hoops for Friends Inc., Janis and Ryan Henneberg

Silver — In memory of Lily and Walter Tatsuno

Bronze — Francisco Alonso, FIA Insurance Services Inc., The Hair Loft, Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple, David and Kathy Ikeda, Emily Matsumura-Mary Kay Cosmetics, Monterey Park-Nachikatsuura Sister City Association, Ray Rockoff, Sage Granada Park Unified Methodist Japanese Language School, Bill and Emi Shishima, Sugar Fix, Taihei Restaurant, Carol Tanita, Tatsuno Business Services Inc.-Naomi Tatsuno-Hiraga, Yama’s Auto Body Shop

Free shuttle service is available from Langley Senior Center, 400 W. Emerson Ave., Monterey Park, and Mark Keppel High School, 501 E. Hellman Ave., Alhambra.

For more information, call (626) 307-1390, or visit www.ci.Monterey-Park.ca.us.

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