Kyodo Taiko at last year's Cherry Blossom Festival. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)
Kyodo Taiko at last year’s Cherry Blossom Festival. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

MONTEREY PARK — The 19th annual Monterey Park Cherry Blossom Festival ushers in spring once again at Barnes Park on April 16 and 17.

The Cherry Blossom Festival is a weekend event that draws people yearly from all over the Southern California area to experience Japanese culture.

The outdoor main stage program is packed with performances that range from classical Japanese dancing to vibrant taiko drumming, from the koto of June Kuramoto and the keyboards of Kimo Cornwell (both of the band Hiroshima) to the R&B and pop songs of Local Mojo and Kokoro.

There will also be exhibitions of martial arts and local high school performance groups. Among the exhibits featured in the gym are ikebana flower arrangements, Japanese kimekomi dolls, sushi-making, and the very popular anime cosplay. This year’s festival will also feature a sumo demonstration with one of the sport’s largest wrestlers, Yamamotoyama.

The Cherry Blossom Marketplace area features numerous vendors with merchandise having that unique Asian/Pacific Islander flair. The children’s craft area makes this the perfect family affair. And what’s a festival without delicious food choices, ranging from teriyaki to the popular mochi desserts?

Attendees can avoid parking hassles by taking free shuttles from various designated locations.

The Cherry Blossom Festival, like many community events, is realized by the crucial contributions of volunteers and financial sponsors. Visit the city website for a list of sponsors or how you or your business can contribute to the success and continuance of this annual event.

Barnes Park is located at 350 S. McPherrin Ave. in Monterey Park. For more information, such as hours, program and parking, visit or contact Robert Aguirre at (626) 307-1390 or

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