Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (March 2011)|
The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (VCBF) is an annual spring festival held in Vancouver, British Columbia to celebrate the beauty of Vancouver’s cherry trees. The festival’s fundamental objectives includes public education through seasonal, cherry-themed, city-wide viewing programs, musical performances, and fine art and craft exhibitions. It enables Vancouverties and those in surrounding areas to appreciate the beauty of cherry blossoms.
The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival was founded in 2005 by Linda Poole, its director, to commemorate the 37,000 cherry trees given by Japan to the City of Vancouver. The first Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival was held in 2006, with support from the Vancouver Board of Trade, as a 'Spirit of Vancouver' initiative. In 2007 it was formally recognized as a charitable nonprofit society.
In 2008, the festival was offered a home at Vancouver's VanDusen Botanical Garden. On April 2, 2008, a cherry grove was planted at VanDusen, dedicated to the festival’s "Blossom Benefactor", the Honorable Dr. David C. Lam. In 2008, a haiku stone presenting winners of the first three years of the festival's Haiku Invitational awards was installed in the garden amid the cherry grove.
In 2011, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival began to sell "Birthday Blossom" cherry trees for a limited time to celebrate Vancouver’s 125th Birthday. The planting of these 3,000 trees all over Vancouver will help ensure that cherry trees are celebrated and appreciated. As expressed by Vancouver’s Mayor Gregor Robertson (2010), the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is a popular tradition in Vancouver that unites people to celebrate the beauty of cherry blossoms.
The fifth annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival ran from March 26 to April 22, 2011.
Each year the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival holds the Haiku Invitational, inviting people from anywhere in the world to submit their haiku in celebration of cherry blossoms. From these entries, judges select top poems from the following categories: British Columbia, Canada, United States, International, and Youth (age 18 and under) to be displayed inside Vancouver city buses and SkyTrains throughout the spring. Many additional poems receive Sakura Awards and honorable mentions, and are displayed on the festival's website, together with information about learning and teaching haiku. Judges have included experienced haiku poets an'ya, LeRoy Gorman, Carole MacRury, Vicki McCullough, Michael Dylan Welch, and Edward Zuk.
Tree Talks and Walks
At the beginning of March each year, Cherry Scouts give tours for the viewing of cherry blossoms all across Vancouver, including Oppenheimer Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, University of British Columbia, and Stanley Park.
The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival holds an event called the "Cherry Jam" as a kickoff to the festival. This free family event welcomes spring and the blooming of cherry trees to Vancouver. Each year the event has various musical traditions, with all ages participating.