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Soggy blossoms! Crowds brave rain for Sakura Matsuri flower fest

Flower shower: The rainy weather didn’t stop people from flocking to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on April 1.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

April flowers brought May showers!

A big crowd turned out for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s cherry blossom festival under sunny skies on Saturday, April 30, while soggy weather put a damper on numbers the following day — May 1. But those who did brave the stormy skies for the park’s annual celebration of Japanese culture say it was worth it to enjoy the festivities without the usual hordes.

“We want a good turnout, but I liked that there weren’t as many people,” said Brooklyn Heights resident Nitza Jones, who has been attending with her husband and nieces for the past five or six years. “Usually when its nice out it’s really crowded — so having a few less was good.”

Guests at Sunday’s edition of the weekend-long event — officially called Sakura Matsuri — sheltered under umbrellas to take in the fair’s fare of tea ceremonies, dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, J-pop concerts, and manga comic workshops.

The floral festival is also a popular gathering for cosplayers — people who like to dress up as cartoon characters — and Jones said her extended family and others still came in costume despite the inclement weather.

Jones came as Batman baddie Harley Quinn, and said her teen nieces also love getting into character and taking selfies with other guests in pop-culture-inspired couture.

“They see people dressed as characters that they like, and they try to take pictures with them,” she said.

Jones and her kin couldn’t enjoy a picnic in the grass as they do most years, but still caught a drumming performance, origami demonstration, and a tour of the Japanese Garden before heading home, she said.

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