What To Do: Celebrate Spring with Cherry Blossoms

By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times

Cherry Blossom festival

The chilly weather has been unkind to early blooming plants and trees, but the worst seems to have passed – maybe. (Don’t look at  Saturday’s forecast.)

If you want to see hundreds of lovely trees showing off their pink blossoms, you can find what you want at the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival (http://subarucherryblossom.org), which is known in Japanese as Sakura Matsuri. The event is running April 7-15 at a variety of locations around the Philadelphia area.

For centuries, Japan has been celebrating the beauty of the elegant pink cherry blossom with picnics under the trees and traditional music and dance performances.

The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival offers visitors the opportunity to explore the best of Japanese culture including delicious cuisine, delicate craft displays, intriguing performances and demonstrations of traditional customs.

Sakura Week at Shofuso will be held from April 7-13 at Shofuso (Horticultural and Lansdowne Drives, Philadelphia).
Visitors will be able to take in the splendor of the cherry blossoms at one of the top-ranked Japanese gardens in North America. In addition to the spectacular scenery and 17th-century-style Japanese house, Sakura Week will feature daily demonstrations, highlighting a different element of Japanese culture each day — tea, taiko, gardening, kimono dressing, and more.

Shofuso will be open daily until 8:30 PM during the festival.

All Sakura Week events free with regular admission to Shofuso: $12 general admission, $8 students with ID, seniors, youth 6-17.

The schedule for Sakura Week at Shofuso is: April 7 — Tea Demo; April 8 – Kabuki Dance Taster; April 9 – Sakura Crafty Circle and Origami; April 10 – Kimono Dressing; April 11 – Garden Explorations Tours & Sketching; April 12 – Shogi & Japanese Games; and April 13 – Manga Pins & Kyo Daiko Performances.

The centerpiece event is Sakura Sunday, a day-long outdoor celebration of all things Japanese. It will be held on April 15 from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. at Fairmount Park’s Horticulture Center (100 North Horticulture Drive, Philadelphia). Tickets are $15 for adults with children (12 and under) admitted free.

Sakura Sunday features live music and dance performances, martial arts, cultural demonstrations, arts & crafts, karaoke, and much more. Some of the featured attractions are Little Akiba Anime & Cosplay Area, Subaru Sushi Samurai of the Year, Prettiest Pet in Pink Parade, Harajuku Fashion Show and Shofuso Tours.

The Sake Garden at Shofuso will be held from April 11-14.

The Sake Garden, a pop-up beer garden, is Philadelphia’s take on the Japanese tradition of cherry blossom picnics. Visitors can enjoy beer, cocktails, and Asian fusion fare beneath the trees in Fairmount Park. The Sake Garden is located along the walking path towards the gazebo and sundial.

“Sushi Making Classes” with Philadelphia’s Queen of Sushi, Madame Saito are scheduled for April 7, 8 and 11. The cost is $50 per person and includes complimentary admission to Sakura Sunday at the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival.

The Morris Arboretum (100 East Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-247-5777, http://www.business-services.upenn.edu/arboretum/index.shtml) was scheduled to present its Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival on April 7 and 14.

Because of the forecast for snow on April 7, the event now will be held only on April 14.

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) is presenting “Spring Blooms,” a popular annual attraction which opened on March 31 and is running through May 6.

Visitors can enjoy hundreds of lush acres featuring burgeoning gardens of daffodils, tulips, magnolias, azaleas, flowering cherries and more than 240,000 flowering bulbs.

In the indoor part of “Spring Blooms,” lilies, delphiniums, hydrangeas and other spring blossoms fill the conservatory with color. Also featured are Longwood’s grand treehouses, whimsical Topiary Garden, and colorful Idea Garden.

Admission to Longwood Gardens is $23 for adults, $20 for seniors and $12 for students.

From April 7-22, Chaddsford Winery (632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, 610-388-6221, www.chaddsford.com) is hosting an event called “Sugar and Slice: Donut, Pizza & Wine Pairings.”

This is a brand-new program featuring out-of-the-box pairings with the trendiest food — donuts and pizza. The winery’s partners for the event are Duck Donuts and Pizzeria Pronto.

A $20 pass will grant participants access to four flavorful pairings – two donut and wine and two pizza and wine. The sweet, salty, and tasty tours will be held each day from noon-5 p.m. Additional sugar and slice options will be available for purchase a la carte.

The “Pairing Menu” features “Pear & Blue Cheese Pizza with Barrel Select Chardonnay and Chaddsford White,” “Taco Pizza with Sangri-La Sangria and The Red Standard,” “Key Lime Pie Donut with Spring Wine and Sauvignon Blanc,” “and “Chocolate Raspberry Donut with Chaddsford Red and Fusion.”

Live music will be performed each day from 12:30-4:30 p.m. The live music schedule is: April 7, Ryan Shubert; April 8, Jamie Rose; April 14, Sam Capolongo; April 15, Acoustic Keys; April 21, MK & COL; and April 22, Christine Kinslow.

First Friday Art Stroll

On April 6, it will be time for another installment of Kennett Square’s First Friday Art Stroll in downtown Kennett Square (http://historickennettsquare.com/recreation-culture/art-stroll/).

Kennett Square’s Art Stroll is a monthly celebration of the local art scene as it is showcased in the galleries, shops and restaurants throughout town. Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to stroll the tree-lined streets and browse the many businesses that stay open late.

There will be an opening reception for Mala Galleria (206 East State Street, Kennett Square, 202-591-6548) on March 2 from 6-9 p.m.

Mala Galleria features fine art, handmade jewelry, and crafts by local, national and international artists and craftspeople. The exhibit this month is entitled “Petals & Leaves” and features works by Frank DePietro, Monique Sarkessian, Doris Davis-Glackin, Sarah Yeoman, Madeleine Kelly, Jack Giangiulio, Katy Winters and Susan B. Myers. There will also be pottery by Susan Kent and Royce Yoder.

Art strollers can enjoy the dramatic photographs of Rusty Nelson at KSI Crafts this First Friday. Steve McKenney at KSI Crafts will also host Hudson Austin in from the Wine Merchant for wine tasting along with local musician Fred McCarthy playing for the initial reception for photographer Rusty Nelson.

The Art Stroll runs from 6-9 p.m. on the first Friday of each month. After 5 p.m. on Friday, visitors can take advantage of free parking anywhere in the Parking Garage and at any street meter.

There will also be First Friday happenings in Lancaster tonight.

Lancaster’s popular First Friday (http://www.visitlancastercity.com/first-friday/) is an arts extravaganza that runs from 5-9 p.m. on March 3. Visitors to downtown Lancaster will have the opportunity to discover innovative exhibitions, performances and perhaps a few surprises as they walk the streets lined with trees and distinctive architecture.

Unique boutiques and excellent restaurants complement the art galleries, artisan studios, museums, performing groups, professional theater, symphony orchestra and art college that form Lancaster’s arts community.

Another First Friday event this weekend will take place in Old City Philadelphia (230 Vine Street and locations throughout Old City Philadelphia, 215- 625-9200, www.oldcitydistrict.org).

On the first Friday of each month — year-round — Old City’s galleries, studios, shops and restaurants open their doors for First Friday, in an epic exhibition of the neighborhood’s vibrant arts scene.

Old City Arts Association launched First Friday in 1991 to introduce Philadelphia to the improving neighborhood and the artists and designers who were bringing it back to life.

Two decades later, Old City is a nationally recognized arts destination, named in 2013 as one of the country’s top ArtPlaces by the ArtPlace Foundation.

On the first Friday evening of every month, the streets of Old City fill with art lovers of all kinds who wander among the neighborhood’s 40-plus galleries, most of which are open from 5-9 p.m.

On April 7, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (300 Gap Road, Strasburg, 717-687-8628, www.rrmuseumpa.org) is presenting a special event called “Rails &Ales,” a craft beer tasting event that will take place among the museum’s amazing historic trains.

Participants are invited to enjoy an evening of responsible adult fun, featuring breweries, food trucks and live music by the Lawmen Band and the SereneGreen Band.

Some of the participating breweries at this year’s “Rails & Ales” are Howling Henry’s Brewery, Twin Lakes Brewing Company, Boxcar Brew Works, Stoudt’s Brewing Company.

“Rails & Ales” will run from 6:30-10 p.m. Tickets are $40 and  designated driver tickets are available for $15.

The Historic Grange Estate

The Historic Grange Estate (143 Myrtle Ave., Haverford Township, https://thegrangeestate.org) will open its 43rd season on April 7.

Tours of the mansion are 1-4 p.m., most Saturdays and Sundays, through October 28, with the last tour beginning at 3:30 p.m. Tours are conducted by volunteers, and admission is $5 for adults, $1 for children 5-10 and free for those under the age of 5.

The Grange Estate’s Gift Shoppe will also be open during tour hours and is brimming with hand-crafted “made-in-America” gifts.

On April 7 and 8, there will be an “Attic Treasures Sale.” Hours are 8 a.m.-noon on Saturday and 9 a.m.-noon on Sunday.

On April 7, the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center (601 North Lansdowne Avenue, Drexel Hill, www.udpac.org) will present two performances by the world-famous Golden Dragon Acrobats.

The Golden Dragons

The Golden Dragons are recognized throughout the United States and abroad as one of the premiere Chinese acrobatic touring companies of today. The spellbinding artistry and amazing athletics will thrill audience members of all ages.

Combining award-winning acrobatics, traditional dance, spectacular costumes, ancient and contemporary music and theatrical techniques, the troupe has traveled to all 50 states and to more than 65 countries on five continents.

Show times are 3 and 7 p.m. Tickets for the performances are $15 and $20. The performances are two hours with intermission and are appropriate for children ages four and older.

On April 7, the Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum (2451 Kissel Hill Road, Lancaster, 717.569.0401, www.landisvalleymuseum.org) will host a “Victorian Tea & Tour.”

Spring Victorian Tea

The annual Spring Victorian Tea at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum includes a tour of the museum’s Victorian buildings and a formal tea luncheon served in the Historic Landis Valley Hotel.

The light luncheon menu provided by Sugarplums and Tea includes scones, tea sandwiches, and desserts with a selection of teas. Dressing up is encouraged but not required.

As an added attraction, the Museum Store will feature springtime creations handcrafted by local artists.

The event’s hours are from 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. The cost to partake in the festive event is $35 per person.

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