Hot Springs, AR 71901 USA
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The Hot Springs National Park Sister City Foundation will host the annual Arkansas Cherry Blossom Festival event, a celebration of Japanese culture, from 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm on Sunday. The event will be held in Bank of the Ozarks Arena, located in the Hot Springs Convention Center at 134 Convention Boulevard. Originally called the Hot Springs Cherry Blossom Festival, this event was renamed in 2022 to the Arkansas Cherry Blossom Festival as it attracted participants from across the state. This sixth annual family-friendly event will be free to attend and has something for all ages.
The festival will again feature cultural demonstrations, exhibits, and musical performances including taiko drums. Japanese lectures and workshops for those wanting a more hands-on experience will also be available. A variety of traditional Japanese carnival games as well as an anime cosplay contest is planned. Prizes for the Second Annual Arkansas Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku competition will be awarded with winners invited to read their haiku at the event.
Workshops & Lectures
The Festival will include several cultural workshops and experiences, in addition to a wide range of performances, exhibits and even an opportunity to shop for Japanese items. Workshops included:
The Sake Experience
Learn about the history, culture, and craft of brewing fine sake and, for participants over 21 years of age, have the opportunity to be one of the first to taste sake crafted in Hot Springs, Arkansas at Origami Sake!
Japanese culture is known for both intricate gift presentation and their conservation. These traditions are the focus of the Furoshiki workshop featuring the Japanese wrapping cloths traditionally used to wrap and/or transport goods. The first furoshiki cloths were tsutsumi (“wrapping”), used during the Nara period from 710 to 794 AD as protection for precious temple objects. Today, Furoshiki, are used to beautifully transport items, more elegant and environmentally friendly than plastic or paper sacks.
What is Manga?
Manga is a term used to refer to Japanese comics and cartooning. This lecture, led by Arkansas Tech University professor Dr. Kae Hashimoto Reed, will explore manga and its place in Japanese history and pop culture.
Yukata, Japan’s summertime kimono, is brightly colored and worn on casual occasions such as festivals and onsen. Learn about the differences between kimono and yukata as well as how to wear yukata.
The Zen of Cherry Blossoms - The short but brilliant life of the cherry blossom has long been seen as a metaphor for themes of impermanence and transience practiced in Zen Buddhism in Japan. The Hot Springs Buddhist Society presents a lecture discussing the relationship between the cherry blossom and Buddhist practice.
Jennifer Huffman, a Tea Master, is a Urasenke Midorikai Graduate from the Urasenke Professional College of Chado in Kyoto, Japan. She currently lives in Arkansas but remains actively engaged in tea studies, workshops, and classes.
Festival Event Date
March 3, 2024, Sunday
12:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Hot Springs Convention Center, 134 Convention Blvd, Hot Springs, AR 71901
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Sunday, 3 March, 2024
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