MONTEREY PARK — The 2019 Cherry Blossom Festival Committee and the City of Monterey Park will present the 22nd annual Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Barnes Park, 360 S. McPherrin Ave. in Monterey Park.
First held in the early 1970s, the festival was discontinued shortly thereafter, then resurrected by a group of community volunteers in 1997. Their efforts were realized through the successful re-establishment of the festival in April 1998.
Take the time to see, hear, and taste a bit of the Japanese and Japanese American culture through a first-hand experience of watching traditional Japanese dancing, hearing the resounding beats of the taiko drums, observing the mastery and various skills of martial arts, participating in the ancient art of the tea ceremony, or buying hand-made crafts or food with an Asian flair. Other highlights of the festival include games and crafts for children, and numerous cultural displays.
Special guests include:
• Akira Chiba, consul general of Japan in Los Angeles.
• Kimi Evans, weekend morning meteorologist for ABC7 Eyewitness News.
• Helen Ota, performing member of the Grateful Crane Ensemble and artistic director emeritus of Cold Tofu Improv.
• Shin Ito, community relations director for Sakura Gardens.
• L.A. Kimono Club, which established the Miss Kimono L.A. contest in Little Tokyo.
• Madame Fumi Akutagawa, who has been teaching Japanese culture and arts in Southern California since 1976.
This year’s festival is dedicated to actor Rodney Kageyama, who passed away last December at the age of 77. A fixture in Little Tokyo, he emceed the Cherry Blossom Festival and many other local Japanese American community events.
Stop by the information booth to purchase raffle tickets for $2 each. All proceeds will go to fund next year’s festival. Prizes include cash and restaurant, salon and car wash gift certificates. Drawing will be held on April 28. Winner need not be present.
Free shuttle service will be available from the following locations:
Langley Senior Center, 400 W. Emerson Ave.
Ynez Elementary School, 120 S. Ynez Ave.
Repetto Elementary School, 650 S. Grandridge Ave.
For more information, call (626) 307-1388 or visit www.MontereyPark.ca.gov.
Saturday, April 27
11 a.m.: Sage Granada Park United Methodist Church Japanese Language School Taiko Group
11:30 a.m.: Aiko Institute Aikido
12 p.m.: Opening ceremony featuring Kimi Evans, Consul General Akira Chiba and Kimono Fashion Show, hosted by Helen Ota and Shin Ito
1 p.m.: Yoki Daiko
1:30 p.m.: Yvette Nii
2:30 p.m.: Halau Hula ‘a’ ala Anuhea
3:15 p.m.: David Torres Kempo Karate
4 p.m.: Yuujou Daiko
4:30 p.m.: Industry Sheriff’s Kendo Dojo
5 p.m.: Taiko Center of Los Angeles
5:30 p.m.: Ronin Stones
12:30 p.m.: Kotobuki no Kai
1 p.m.: Pop Rock Academy
2 p.m.: Origami demonstration by Michael Sanders
3 p.m.: Rockit Writer featuring Ashlee Barrera
4 p.m.: Angel Dance Group/Math Clinic
5 p.m.: Ramekega
Sunday, April 28
11 a.m.: Mark Keppel High School Pep Band
11:30 a.m.: Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko
12 p.m.: Gedatsu Dojo
12:30 p.m.: Bombu Taiko/Kitsune Taiko
1:15 p.m.: Wu Shu Martial Arts
1:35 p.m.: Azuma Kotobuki Kai
2:15 p.m.: Koshin Taiko
2:45 p.m.: Yuna & Tida
3:15 p.m.: Phyllis Chang
4 p.m.: Ohana Polynesian Dancers
4:45 p.m.: Kokoro
11 a.m.: Sunny and Judy Seki, “Welcome to Himeji Castle”
12 p.m.: Zen brush painting by Susan Perry
1 p.m.: Manju demonstration by Brian Kito of Fugetsu-do
2 p.m.: Shinshi
2:45 p.m.: Fuji Japanese Music and Yamatogaku USA
3:15 p.m.: Urasenke Ryu Chado tea ceremony
4 p.m.: Magic Wayne