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What to know about Philadelphia Cherry Blossom Festival's Sakura Weekend

Celebrate spring season this weekend at free Cherry Blossom Festival in Philadelphia
Celebrate spring season this weekend at free Cherry Blossom Festival in Philadelphia 03:05

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Take a trip to Japan without hopping on a plane this weekend, when the Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia's Sakura Weekend returns to Fairmount Park this Saturday and Sunday. 

The annual spring celebration of Japanese arts and culture is hosted by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia and is free to the public in the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center and the Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center.

The two-day festival saw record crowds of more than 40,000 people last year, all celebrating the beauty of the Japanese Sakura, or the flowering cherry tree and its delicate pink blossoms. 

Many cherry trees peaked early this year across the Philadelphia region after a warm start to March, and down in Washington D.C., the cherry blossoms hit peak bloom on March 17 - the earliest on record.

Regardless, there are still plenty of species in bloom at this time of year and on display at the festival.

The weekend's festivities will feature other traditional and contemporary aspects of Japanese culture as well, including a beer garden, music and dance performances, tea ceremonies, live calligraphy, matcha whisking, origami making, and much more.

The festival begins with a kickoff event Friday night at The Fallser Club in the East Falls section of Philadelphia.

"You can experience Japan while you are here," said Kazumi Teune, JASGP's Executive Director. "The Cherry Blossom Festival is a true labor of love between myself and my fellow board members and each year, we are overjoyed in bringing a taste of our beautiful culture to Philadelphia."

A full schedule of events for the Cherry Blossom Festival and Sakura Weekend are available on

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