Fort Wayne’s Cherry Blossom Festival this Sunday shares Japanese culture

People are invited to enjoy Japanese music, dance, food and more during the Cherry Blossom Festival this Sunday at the downtown Allen County Public Library. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
The annual Cherry Blossom Festival will celebrate Japanese culture this Sunday afternoon inside and outside the Allen County Public Library's downtown branch. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
A tea ceremony will be among the festivities at the 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival, which will take place Sunday at the downtown Allen County Public Library. (Courtesy photo)
Japanese dancers, pictured here at last year's Cherry Blossom Festival, will perform at this year's event Sunday at the downtown Allen County Public Library. (Courtesy photo)
Bonsai crafting will be one of the demonstrations at the annual Cherry Blossom Festival this Sunday afternoon at the downtown Allen County Public Library. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)

People can find fun, food, cultural activities and more at the annual Cherry Blossom Festival from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the downtown Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza. Admission is free.

“We have a very exciting lineup of people,” said Dorothy Kittaka of Fort Wayne, who is co-chair of the festival.

One of the highlights will be the visit of Naoki Ito, the Japanese consul-general in Chicago, whose office serves America’s Midwest states.

Ito will participate in the festival’s opening ceremony at noon and also plans to give Fort Wayne a gift of five Japanese cherry blossom trees, Kittaka said.

The trees will replace those given to Fort Wayne 40 years ago by its Japanese Sister City, Takaoka, she said. The original trees didn’t withstand Indiana’s winters, she added.

To avoid any problems with transferring invasive pests or diseases, Ito bought the trees in the United States, Kittaka said. They also are a tree variety better-suited to Indiana weather.

Kittaka said one tree will be planted on the grounds of the main library. She hopes the other four can be planted near the Japanese Pavilion in Swinney Park.

Also new at the festival this year will be the participation by local choral group Heartland Sings, which will perform Japanese anime and video game music in a cappella style, she said.

Festival events and activities will fill the downtown library’s main hall and use its downstairs theater and outdoor plaza, Kittaka said. Food vendors will set up in the library parking lot east of the plaza.

Entertainment highlights include:

• Doux Koto: Koto musicians and Japanese dancer

• Elaina Robbins, vocals, and Daniel Quinn, classical guitar: contemporary Japanese music

• Fort Wayne Taiko: traditional Japanese drumming at 12 noon to open the festival

• Minyo Dancers: traditional Japanese folk dancing in colorful kimonos

• Shie Otani: traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony with audience participation

Fort Wayne Children’s Choir and the Suzuki String Orchestra of Fort Wayne will perform Japanese music in the opening ceremony

Activities also will include demonstrations, such as bonsai tree crafting, origami and Kamishibai Story Telling. People are invited to enter the anime art, haiku and CosPlay costume contests, as well as to shop at various vendors in the Marketplace.

FESTIVAL FUN

WHAT: The Fort Wayne Cherry Blossom Festival will celebrate Japanese culture with entertainment, food, demonstrations and more.

WHEN: Noon-5 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Downtown Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza

COST: Free admission

INFORMATION: Click on the website or on the event’s Facebook page.

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