Spring in Vancouver is underway. The streets are adorned with a carpet of pretty pink petals. Every year the city celebrates its 40,000 cherry trees – many of which are gifts from Japan – with the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival taking place April 4-30.
The packed line-up of Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival events kicks off with Cherry Jam, the downtown street festival happening today, April 4, at Burrard SkyTrain Station from 11am-1:30pm. Throughout April, you can join in on the blossom fun including blossom walks and talks, flash mob dancing, blossom painting and bike the blossom events. Sakura Days Japan Fair at VanDusen Botanical Garden April 6-7 is your best bet for Japanese eats including sushi, ramen, takoyaki and karaage.
Find our picks for the best events at Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival 2013 below.
Best Events at Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, April 4-30
1) Cherry Jam Downtown Concert, April 4
This free massive party in the heart of downtown Vancouver includes taiko drumming, free Bollywood-style Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Umbrella Dance lessons, a ukelele band, Japanese cooking demos, and the hotly-anticipated SakuraB Bento Box ($20 rush orders on site( by Japanese celeb chefs including Tojo, Vancouver’s legendary sushi chef credited with inventing the California roll.
2) Self-guided Blossom Tours in Kitsilano, ongoing
Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival’s greatest accomplishment is a Google Map with over 1,000 cherry tree locations showing you what’s blooming now. Just check out the Kitsilano area for trees in bloom, pack a picnic and have a gorgeous free adventure. You can even nerd out and select a location by cultivar.
3) Sakura Days Japan Fair at VanDusen Botanical Garden, April 6-7
Come hungry. Sakura Days, taking place April 6-7 at VanDusen Botanical Garden, is packed with tempting Japanese eats. It’s worth braving the line for takoyaki, addictive octopus pancake batter balls with green onions and tempura bits. Japadog will serve up their legendary terimayo dog. New food truck Mogu will be there with crispy karaage – soy, garlic, and ginger marinated chicken deep fried until irresistible. You’ll also find ramen, chirashizushi (sushi rice topped with sashimi) and sticky red bean paste sweets. Buy advance tickets here. (5251 Oak Street)
4) World Umbrella Dance Flash Mob, April 13
Ever dreamed of dancing in public in an amazing happening with hundreds of other dancers? You can. Shiamak Davar (beloved by Oprah and opener for Sting) has choreographed this pop-up dance which takes place at the grand setting of the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza on April 13. Learn the dance with these YouTube videos and bounce to a Bollywood beat with live taiko drumming by Tetsu Taiko. Last year 550 people got out and did their thing.
5) Bike the Blossoms: April 27
Join Velopalooza bike fun-ists and the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival for a free guided bike ride. The ride will tour the blossom cherry trees in Vancouver and include a talk by Parks Board Arborist, Bill Stephen. Meet at China Creek South at 11am.
6) Haiku Invitational, through June 3
The invitational invites everyone from around the world to submit up to two poems within 17 syllables on the beautiful pink and white cherry blossoms. Since 2006, the Invitational has attracted some 6,000 submissions from 39 countries. This year, VCBF also introduces Haiku Tracking by Bing Thom Architects. Hundreds of pink helium balloons with haikus tied onto them will be released in Burrard Skytrain Station on April 4. When you catch one, you’re asked to email and say where you took it.
Last modified: April 5, 2013