Best buds! Thousands flock to cherry blossom festival

Dressing for the occasion: Doris Xu wore a traditional Japanese outfit.
Photo by Jason Speakman

Talk about flower power!

Tens of thousands of nature lovers and Japanophiles crowded into Brooklyn Botanic Garden this weekend for the park’s annual Sakura Matsuri cherry blossom festival.

Revelers, who waited for up to an hour in long entrance lines, said they were excited to frolic among the blooming cherry blossoms, celebrate with friends and family, and watch traditional and contemporary Japanese performances in the warm spring weather.

“This is the perfect day to come see the cherry blossoms,” said Denice Aylett of Park Slope. “It is so beautiful in here.”

Littlest cosplayers: Lily and Michael Gaudioso, 6 and 4, from Sunset Park, dress up as characters for the cherry blossom festival.
Photo by Jason Speakman

The entertainment included taiko drumming ensembles, kabuki dances, and samurai sword fighting exhibitions. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden also offered tours of its Japanese gardens and bonsai museum.

Many visitors showed up in full Japanese regalia or costumes that mimicked their favorite Japanese comic book or video game character. One merrymaker showed up dressed as Morrigan Aensland, a character from the fantasy monster video game “Darkstalkers.” She wore long, blue hair, and a red and white cape — and said she felt right at home.

“She is fast and powerful, so I always choose her,” said Stephanie Darius of East New York. “I am a cosplayer, so dressing up like this is normal for me.”

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Bang-a-gong: Traditional Japanese taiko drummers perform during this year’s Sakura Matsuri, also known as the cherry blossom festival, at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Taiko drummers train vigoriously for months for the chance to perform with the ensemble.
Photo by Jason Speakman

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