Japan Enthusiasts Enjoy 2nd Annual Cherry Blossom Festival at Mead Park

Gabriel Santana began studying Japanese by accident. He noticed that a class in Japanese opened up at Norwalk Community College a couple of years ago and he hadn’t been interested in any other languages, so he signed up. From there, the Stratford resident recalled Sunday afternoon from the colonnade at Mead Park, he grew interested in Japanese folklore, music, history and food. “I took a very serious interest in all of that, and Japanese culture,” Santana, now secretary of NCC’s Japanese Language & Culture Club, said as a crowd of people visited the club’s table behind him, learning about tenugui or Japanese gift wrapping during the second annual Cherry Blossom Festival at Mead. Sponsored by the Japan Society of Fairfield County and the Consulate General of Japan in New York, the festival featured Japanese folk dancing, taiko drumming by UConn Taiko, the stories of Hachiko the Akita dog and Spartacus, an American Akita therapy dog with K9 First Responders, kimono dressing, ikebana flower arranging for kids, origami and calligraphy.

Parks & Rec Approves Spring Dates for 2nd Annual ‘Cherry Blossom Festival’ at Mead

Following a successful inaugural event, town officials this month approved use of the colonnade area at Mead Park by the Japan Society of Fairfield County for a cherry blossom festival this spring. The Parks & Recreation Commission voted 6-0 to approve the festival to run on Sunday, May 6—or, if the Society prefers, to run on Sunday, April 29 with May 6 as a rain date. “It was just a wonderful gathering, very family-friendly,” commission Chair Sally Campbell said of last year’s festival. New Canaan resident Jackie Alexander, a member of the Society who is helping organize the festivals, said the events are traditional celebrations in both Japan and the United States. “Cherry blossoms, as you know, are a harbinger of spring, it’s very fleeting, so it’s meant to appreciate the tradition of enjoying each moment of the cherry blossoms season,” Alexander told commissioners at the meeting, held in Lapham Community Center.