Philadelphia's Shofuso Cherry Blossom Festival returns to Fairmount Park

The Shofuso Cherry Blossom Festival is set for April 8 through April 10.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A sure sign of spring has arrived: the cherry blossoms are starting to bloom outside the Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center in Fairmount Park.

Planners of the Shofuso Cherry Blossom Festival say Philadelphia has more varieties of cherry blossom trees than Washington, D.C.

"Peak essentially lasts longer here," said Kim Andrews, executive director of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia. "The more trees that are blooming, the more effect we get of the beautiful, puffy, pink moment of spring here in Philadelphia."

The Shofuso Center reopened to the public for the season on Wednesday, so people are now welcome to tour the grounds and feed the koi.

"We have this beautiful Sukiya style structure that's been here since 1958, and the third-ranked Japanese garden in North America, which we're standing in right here," said Andrews.

With most of the Cherry Blossoms about two weeks away from full bloom, the folks at the Shofuso Center say the timing should work out perfectly for the first cherry blossom festival in Fairmount Park in two years.

"We're going to have one big stage, and there are food vendors, Japanese food vendors, and Asian food vendors," said Andrew. "We want to recapture the idea of Ohanami, which is picnicking under the cherry trees."

The Shofuso Cherry Blossom Festival is set for April 8 through April 10, and while tree experts say peak bloom is earlier than last year, the blossoms should be just as beautiful.

"Typically, it's early April. Last year was around the 13th (of April.) Every year it's going to be a little bit different. They do tend to be getting earlier and earlier as things start to warm up further north," said Jason Parker, an arborist with the Davey Tree Expert Company.

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