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Festivals In Focus: The Cherry Blossom Celebration

Spring is in full bloom. Can you feel it? Have you seen it? We’ll show you the way. 

Each spring season, the landscape of New Haven softens to welcome delicate petals and sprawling forest green leaves. Nowhere in our city is this on a more magnificent display than the blooming pink Yoshino Cherry Blossom Trees that return to our greens each year. The fledgling blooms are welcomed by a time-honored New Haven tradition, The Cherry Blossom Celebration, which celebrates the local community, the mystery of nature, and the connection between the two. 

In Japan, the celebration of blooming cherry blossoms is a time-honored tradition, held up for centuries. The trees’ exotic branching patterns showcase the almond-scented, pale pink petals that have been so revered by nature novices and enthusiasts alike. With cherries too bitter to be consumed, the tree’s blossoms are the true star of the show. The Yoshino Cherry is one of the first cherry trees to bloom each season, marking the beginning of spring. The spirit of Japanese “hanami,” which translates to “flower viewing,” inspires our annual celebration in Wooster Square. 

2023 marked the 50th anniversary of the Cherry Blossom Celebration in Wooster Square, which honors the 1973 planting of 72 Yoshino Cherry Blossom trees in Wooster Square Park. The Yoshino Cherry is a species most notable for their vibrant pink and white blooms in Spring and was the first of its kind to be planted in America circa 1902. In 1973,  the New Haven Historic Commission, in collaboration with the New Haven Parks Department and Wooster Square neighborhood residents, planted the roots of a blooming legacy that continues to captivate hearts to this day. During this locally loved annual festival, nature loving residents gather to honor the beauty of these trees and swim in the “pink snow” of fallen buds. 

Each year, the event features live music and engagements that amplify and promote arts organizations in the greater New Haven area. The border of the park fills, year after year, with a line of local food trucks, serving up a wide variety of cuisine all day long. From grilled cheeses from Crispy Melty, to fresh smoothies from Cultured Café, to vegan dishes from Soulfully Vegan, there’s something for everyone to indulge in. 

To keep visitors and guests informed of the blooming process and timing, the Historic Wooster Square Association created the Cherry Blossoming Blog. Posts include expected peak dates, blossoming stage updates, and other important cherry blossom updates. 

Will we see you under the cherry blossoms?

updated March 26, 2024
first posted April 12, 2023 @ 10:00 am

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