The 17th annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival has launched as planned on April 1st, thanks to the support of its new presenting sponsor, Edge Construction. The announcement follows the loss of financial support from a lead sponsor in February 2023, Coromandel Properties, which recently filed for creditor protection, putting the festival in jeopardy and leading to fears that some events and activities would be canceled due to an $80,000 shortfall.
The festival kicked off on April 1st with the Big Picnic in David Lam Park in Yale Town. People enjoyed a Cherry Jam concert with a lineup of local talent including Zimbamoto, Serengeti, and Raincity, plus a special performance by the Vancouver Okinawa Taiko dance group. CTV News covered the Big Picnic scene. What’s more, Sakura Days Japan Fair will take place on April 15th, and Bike The Blossoms on April 22nd.
This cherry blossom festival is a much-anticipated cultural event in Vancouver, celebrating the arrival of spring and the beauty of the city's iconic cherry blossom trees. Every year, hundreds of people come together to appreciate the beauty of the pink and white blossoms, which were gifted to the city in the 1930s by the mayors of Kobe and Yokohama as a way of thanking Vancouver for honoring Japanese Canadians who served in the World War I.
Over the years, the festival has grown in popularity, attracting visitors from across Canada and beyond. Coromandel Properties was a presenting sponsor of the festival for five years. Its withdrawal caused concern among festival-goers and garnered significant media coverage in Vancouver and beyond this February.
Fortunately, the festival organizers announced on March 15th that Edge Construction had stepped in as a new presenting sponsor, providing a major donation to ensure the festival's full program of events would go ahead as planned. The support of Edge Construction is a welcome relief for the festival organizers, who were facing the prospect of scaling back and canceling some of their popular events and activities. The new sponsorship will ensure that the festival can continue to showcase the beauty of Vancouver's cherry blossom trees and bring joy to locals and visitors alike.
The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival was founded in 2005 and has become an important cultural event in the city's calendar. The festival not only celebrates the beauty of the cherry blossoms but also promotes cross-cultural understanding and appreciation between Canada and Japan.
As the festival's organizers noted in a statement, "The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is more than just a celebration of spring; it is a symbol of hope, renewal, and the enduring spirit of community. We are grateful to Edge Construction for their support, and we look forward to sharing the beauty of the cherry blossoms with everyone who attends this year's festival."
The continuation of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is a testament to the generosity and community spirit of the people and businesses of Vancouver. Despite the challenges posed by the loss of financial support from Coromandel Properties, the festival will go ahead, providing a much-needed source of joy and inspiration to the city's residents and visitors alike.
Edited By: Ritaja Kar
Photo By: Jason Yuan
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