The annual Monterey Park Cherry Blossom Festival was held April 16 and 17 at Barnes Park, with visitors enjoying sunshine and pleasant temperatures over the two-day event. Above and below: USA Sumo staged an exhibition that included an appearance by Yama, the former professional wrestler who at over 600 pounds was the heaviest man ever to compete in Japan’s ancient sport.

Above and below: Monterey Park-based Halau Hula Moani’a’ala Anuhea, under the direction of Christina Aiu-Quezada, performed on the outdoor stage.

Classical Japanese dance was performed by Nancy Hayata & Co. on the indoor stage.

Demonstration by David Torres Kempo Karate.

Some attendees dressed as their favorite anime/manga characters and participated in Infotakus’ cosplay runway and fashion show.

Setsuko Okubo was among the artists displaying their works.

Menu items in the food court included takoyaki, salmon teriyaki, won ton, and passion fruit and wintermelon tea.

The Cherry Blossom Festival Committee served chicken teriyaki.

LIttle Tokyo’s Fugetsudo sold manju and mochi confections.

The Monterey Park Police Department had a recruitment booth.

Above and below: The L.A. Tanabata Festival showed attendees how to make paper flowers for kazari, the colorful decorations that will be displayed at the festival this summer in Little Tokyo.

Sogetsu Ikebana offered mini-flower arranging classes.

Many young volunteers supported the festival.

A game and giveaways at the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District booth.

The Urasenke School gave tea ceremony demonstrations.

OCA-Greater Los Angeles conducted a voter registration drive aimed at Asian Americans.

One booth offered a suggestion on whom to vote for.

Photos by MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo

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