10th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival will be in bloom this weekend, rain or shine

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB ) — After a long winter, Western New Yorkers are eager to stop and smell the flowers of spring.

“There is nothing like Buffalo on the first few weeks of spring,” said Cyndi Burnett. “Especially after the long winter we’ve had. Being able to get out in the sunshine, seeing everyone out and about, and just seeing the smiles and rolling the windows down, and smelling the fresh air and feeling the breeze, and seeing these gorgeous trees, it’s just unbelievable.”

Cyndi, and her husband Andy, decided to stop by the Japanese Garden outside of the Buffalo History Museum, on the eve of the 10th annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Like thousands who are expected to attend this weekend’s festival, they came and took photos of the blossoming trees.

“It’s beautiful, and I had no idea that these Cherry blossoms were here,” said Andy Burnett. “They’re a wonderful photographic opportunity and it’s a beautiful day, and they do smell nice.”

On Friday morning, the eve of the festival that will bring live music from Music is Art, Japanese culture and activities, along with vendors and food trucks to the garden, some are wondering if the rainy forecast will wash away the plans.

Co-Founder of the festival, Paula Hinz, says the festival will go on, rain or shine.

“We’re going to be here no matter what the weather is because the trees are here,” said Hinz. “We will either be in the History Museum or out in the garden, depending on the weather.”

Thousands of people walk through the garden during the festival every year, but Hinz reminds everyone the only mark you should leave, is your footprints.

“We won’t have this beautiful garden forever if we don’t just leave footprints,” said Hinz. “What happens is when people touch the trees or use it as a prop in a photo, they break off the buds and the buds actually won’t regenerate.”

Shaking the trees, climbing on them, using them as props or breaking them off and putting them in your hair, will harm the trees and prevent them from growing back.

“We should really use them as the backdrop,” said Hinz. “We’re reminded of how precious nature is and how our interaction with nature encourages our own spirit.”

The Japanese garden started in the 60s when Buffalo became the sister city of Kanazawa, Japan, when they gave Buffalo a gift of a two legged lantern. The city decided to put it in the garden that had Cherry trees, which inspired the Japanese Garden.

The festival is free to the public, and will go on rain or shine, Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. For more information, visit their website here.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.

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