Sakura Sunday in Fairmount Park, April 2012

Zabeth Teelucksingh, for GPA -- Sakura Sunday marks the Spring day in Japan when families go out with a picnic, a blanket, their family members and possibly some sake to contemplate the cherry blossoms. The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP), capitalizing on a majestic alley of cherry blossoms adjacent to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in Fairmount Park, every year partners with Title Sponsor Subaru and Presenting Sponsor -- and GPA Member organization -- The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PCVB), to welcome spring in this highly successful, mid-April festival.

There is something for everyone at Sakura Sunday – flowers and plants for sale, Japanese language classes, origami and kite making, calligraphy workshops, many styles of Japanese food, traditional clothes for sale, Taiko drumming and much more. What's more, preceding the day's flurry of acitivity is the Cherry Blossom 5K, proceeds from which benefit the JASGP Community Tree Planting Project. The Presenting Sponsor for the 5K is Mentholatum, a global health and wellness company providing non-prescription pharmaceutical, healthcare, and cosmetic products to consumers worldwide.

Among these myriad activities, two features stand out – one the myriad Manga and Anime characters taking part, who appeal to the youth in the festival bringing much color and animation to the event. The other is the “Subaru Prettiest Pet in Pink Parade.” The dog competition attracts rose-hued canine characters from far and wide anxious to see who might win first prize, underscoring the title sponsors’ pet-friendly vehicles and bringing a fun four-legged appeal to the proceedings.

If all of this is not enough to tempt you to take part in Sakura Sunday, be draw in by the simple fact of celebrating Spring in the great outdoors in one of America’s Best city parks, enjoying a sample of a vibrant culture that comes from half way around the world. Sakura Sunday – it is Philadelphia’s unique version of celebrating the Cherry Blossoms!