May 3, 2017 / Brooklyn news / Crown Heights / Brooklyn Is Awesome

Cherry on top! Brooklyn Botanic Garden gets colorful at blossom festival

Peace!: Die-hard cosplayer Kato Mito and a friend came to Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Sakura Festival in full regalia.
Brooklyn Paper
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The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has turned Japanese!

The famed cherry blossoms at Brooklyn Botanic Garden were in full bloom last weekend, and New Yorkers celebrated by donning samurai armor and dolling themselves up as pink-haired anime tweens for the garden’s long-awaited Sakura Festival.

Five-Borough Japanophiles waited all year for the hotly anticipated chance to show off their sweet cosplay duds, and last weekend’s festivities were the best yet in the event’s 36-year history, according to one.

“I really like Japanese culture and I really like the cherry blossoms,” said Danny Chen, who attends the festival every year in his homemade, gold samurai armor. “It’s like my Christmas.”

The event featured numerous traditional Japanese spectacles, including Taiko drumming ensembles and fencing exhibitions, along with more contemporary performances, including a show from J-rock band Uhnellys.

Hordes of other revelers turned out in their finest Japenese-themed getups, while more diehard costumers walked the runway for the Cosplay Fashion Show, where they competed for bragging rights, according to garden spokeswoman Elizabeth Longoria

Of course, many festival-goers are drawn merely by the fleeting allure of the garden’s famed cherry blossom orchard, which was in spectacular bloom over the weekend.

“It was awesome,” said Phil Szeto, who was attracted to the festival’s horticultural attractions more than the performances.

The festival, which is planned as much as three years in advance to accommodate booking of the two-day program’s international acts, sometimes misses the full glory of the blossom, but this year planners hit the nail on the head, Chen said.

“Most of the times it’s about half and half, depending on the weather, but this year it actually bloomed on time and about 90 percent was in peak bloom,” Chen said.

The cherry blossoms bloom is a short-lived spectacle, which usually lasts only a few weeks, but plant lovers who missed the weekend’s festivities can still catch the tree’s pink buds for at least another few days, Longoria said.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:59 pm, July 9, 2018
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