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Cherry Blossom Festival Celebrates Cycle Of Life In White Plains

The 14th annual Cherry Blossom Festival was held Sunday in White Plains.
The 14th annual Cherry Blossom Festival was held Sunday in White Plains. Photo Credit: City of White Plains

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – In Japanese culture the cherry blossom represents the end of winter and beginning of new life. On Sunday, White Plains held its 14th annual Cherry Blossom Festival to honor the tradition of viewing the cherry blossoms.

The fair featured Japanese music, dance, song, storytelling, games and crafts at Turnure Park on Lake Street. It originated in 2000 when a resident asked the Recreation and Parks Department to plant Japanese cherry trees in the city. It agreed and began holding the festival at Lower Tibbits Park.

The event moved to Turnure Park when it outgrew Lower Tibbits Park. About 100 cherry trees have been planted in the city.

Soon after the city began holding annual festivals, Niji No Kai, a Japanese-American nonprofit, began donating cherry trees. Eventually, it began coordinating the event, and in 2011 it used the proceeds to benefit the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund. Last year, it raised $10,000 from all of its projects, including the Cherry Blossom Festival, said Fran Croughan, of the Recreation and Parks Department.

The cherry tree and its blossoms, known as sakura, have a rich history in Japanese culture. They are a symbol of the cycle of life, death and rebirth, according to a city press release.

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