Pops of pink are starting to show up on the trees in Vancouver, which means spring is in the air and the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is just around the corner! The dates for the 13th year of one of Vancouver’s most anticipated events have been announced, with the 2019 festival spanning April 4-28. Prepare your cameras to think pink!
Spring, a.k.a. cherry blossom season, is one of my favourite times of the year in Vancouver. The city’s colour palette gets even more vibrant, and if the sight of the blossoms doesn’t melt away any possible ‘winter blues’, I don’t know what will. The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is a great way to see the city wearing her Sakura best. With a cultural calendar of both free and paid opportunities, visitors and locals are invited to capture and celebrate the beauty of the blossoms via the festival’s line-up of traditional Japanese festivities, viewing tours, art events, and chances to get active around the city.
Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Events
Tree Talks and Walks (Starting March 30)
Tree Talks and Walks are a guided cherry blossom tour by our fantastic “Sakura” Team! You are in for a treat as they have done their best to schedule the walks when the trees are in bloom at the best locations! (FREE / Various locations / More info)
Festival Etiquette: Should you be admiring the blossoms in their neighbourhood habitats, festival organizers have asked that people please be respectful of the area when visiting.
Cherry Jam Downtown Concert (April 4)
The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off the season with Cherry Jam Downtown, a noon-hour concert in the downtown core featuring local talent and memorable performances. (FREE / Burrard Skytrain Station / More info)
The Big Picnic (April 13)
This is possibly the best spring date idea in the city: enjoy the blossoms at Queen Elizabeth Park with a picnic! There will be family-friendly activities, as well as performances. If you don’t have a picnic blanket, connecting Petal Mats will be available to purchase. Taking public transit is strongly recommended. (Free / Queen Elizabeth Park / More info)
Did you know? Hanami is the Japanese tradition of flower viewing. Hana- (flower) mi (viewing)
Sakura Days Japan Fair (April 13-14)
At the Sakura Days Japan Fair, you will enjoy the special ritual of the Japanese tea ceremony, culinary demonstrations, enjoy Japanese festival food, sample premium sake, guided Tree Talks and Walks to the cherry trees, and haiku readings. There will also be hands-on workshops to try your hand at calligraphy, origami and other Japanese arts and crafts. (Ticketed / VanDusen Botanical Garden / More info)
Bike the Blossoms (April 27)
Join the annual Bike the Blossoms ride under the city’s mesmerizing kanzan canopy at Trout Lake. If you would like to join in on the ride, but don’t own a bike, can sign up with Vancouver bike share MOBI for a 24hr pass. (FREE / John Hendry Park / More info)
Spring Lights Illumination (TBA)
A mesmerizing and fleeting media arts installation by local artists; each year is a unique experience. (FREE / Location TBA / More info)
The Big Sing (April 27)
This Spring Metro Vancouver will come together in harmony to share in the joy of singing. The festival is inviting choirs and individuals to join The Big Sing for an uplifting and exhilarating experience. Help them fill Robson Plaza with song! (FREE / Robson Square / Sign up here)
BC Blossom Photo Watch (April 4-28)
Share your best cherry blossom angles with with the festival on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for a chance to win the honour having the favourite cherry blossom photo! The panel of judges will be choosing the favourite cherry blossom photo on May 3rd, 2019. Contest rules and further info can be found here!
Top Tip: Check out the festival’s neighbourhoods map to check out where the cherry blossoms are near you! Some of my personal favourites are the Marpole, West End, Burrard Station, and City Hall neighbourhoods.
Haiku Invitational (April 28)
A free workshop and exploration of haiku, the Haiku Invitational will led by Michael Dylan Welch, founder of National Haiku Writing Month, co-founder of Haiku North America and the American Haiku Archives, and keynote speaker for a recent Haiku International Association conference in Tokyo. (FREE / Vancouver Public Library Central Branch / More info)
Sakura Night (May 5)
Though it doesn’t take place during the festival, Sakura Night stands out as the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival’s standing reception fundraiser, celebrating an evening of Asian-fusion flavours. Proceeds go towards the festival, an intra-community arts and cultural event vital for community engagement, multiculturalism, the arts, and the environment. (Ticketed / Stanley Park Pavilion / More info)
The 13th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival
Dates: April 4-28, 2019
Where: Vancouver (various locations)
Share your #VeryVancouver #vancherryblossomfest moments with us on Instagram @Inside_Vancouver!