Attend the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Festival

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Katrina Paluso's Goal

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I had the best time at the Sakura Matsuri festival. It turned out to be beyond better than I expected, and I'm so glad that we went. All of the vendors and staff were lovely, helpful, and seemed happy to be there. The performances were amazing, and the hosts were full of energy. The food was delicious, and worth the wait in the long lines. I stopped by a few tents to inquire more about traveling to and possibly living in Japan, and all of the Japanese hosts were patient and gave us plenty of information, and they all encouraged us to visit their cities. This is something I would love to attend every year. It was as close to authentic Japan that I've ever been.

This Japanese Street Festival (on Pennsylvania Ave and Constitution Ave) began just four years after the Society’s founding as a small “friends and family” bazaar in 1957. Today it is the largest one-day display of Japanese culture in the nation. Held each April as the climax of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, it stretches for six blocks through downtown Washington, D.C. Performers from all over the country (and Japan!!!) come to the Sakura Matsuri to bring over 30 hours of live musical and dance performances. The Sakura Matsuri’s Arts and Culture-Artisan area gives attendees a chance to enjoy interactive cultural activities, learn about the cultural impact of Japan in the United States and purchase Japanese-inspired hand-made items. The vendors in the Ginza area offer a wide and stunning array of Japanese home goods, accessories and artwork, either directly from Japan or inspired by the gift of the cherry blossoms. Modern Japanese culture has helped introduce a new generation to Japan! The Japan Now area has the latest and greatest in modern Japanese fashion, anime-inspired hats and accessories, and the latest in video games and hip, urban fun! The Sakura Matsuri is a family-friendly festival. There are over 15 food vendors, over 30 exhibitors, over 20 vendors of traditional and modern products, and over 30 hours of live performances on six stages, which are all related to Japan. The 2019 event is on Saturday, April 13th from 10:30 A.M. (directly following the Cherry Blossom Parade) until 6:00 P.M. Tickets are $11 (can be purchased online or at the gate) and proceeds will benefit the planting of new cherry blossom trees around the D.C. area.

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