The Cherry Blossom Festival took place as a live, in-person event on April 2nd in 2023. The festival’s date for 2024 is still to be confirmed.
Cherry Blossom Festival at Gary Point Park
The Richmond Cherry Blossom Festival is a free event. It celebrates the arrival of spring and the Japanese tradition of cherry blossom viewing (or “hanami”).
The last couple of editions of the Richmond Cherry Blossom Festival took place in virtual formats. In 2023, however, the festival returned as an in-person event from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm on Sunday, April 2nd. This past year the festival celebrated its sixth year.
At the event there are musical performances and a tea ceremony. There are also various demonstrations about kimonos, sushi rolling, calligraphy, origami, bonsai pruning and more. The event also includes live music as well as dancing and other cultural performances. Other things to see and do most years include koinobori kite flying, kimono-wearing demonstrations and displays of Japanese flower arrangements and bonsai plants. There are also food vendors on-site.
SWEET SPRING IN CHILLIWACK
If you like flowers, spring and family-friendly events and activities, then another event you might want to check out is Sweet Spring at Greendale Acres in Chilliwack. In 2023 it took place on a farm between April 14th and May 14th. Other events that took place at Greendale Acres this past spring were the Chilliwack Plowing Match (which was a tractor competition on April 1st) and Easter Egg Hunts (on April 7th to 9th). See our article about Greendale Acres for details.
Gary Point Park
Gary Point Park is situated at the mouth of the Fraser River. At the park there are a couple of hundred Akebono cherry trees, which makes it the perfect place for a cherry blossom festival.
Tips & Advice
Below are some suggestions to help you make the most of your visit to Gary Point Park and the Richmond Cherry Blossom Festival.
TIP #2: Take your bikes if you like cycling. The area is pretty flat and there are miles of paved cycling trails. Parking on the day of the festival can also be a challenge as there’s no on-site parking. Consequently, taking your bicycles might save you from a long walk. There is also a free “wheel watch” where someone will always be watching to make sure your bike is secure and safe.
TIP #3: A big part of Japanese-style events like this is the festival food. It’s delicious! There isn’t a huge selection at this particular event most years, but there is some, and what’s there is usually pretty tasty! Try some!
Other Events You Might Enjoy
If you like this sort of event then also check out the following:
- Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival – hosts a number of events (both free and ticketed) during the month of April. Some of this festival’s events include the Sakura Days Japan Fair at VanDusen Botanical Garden. There is also the Big Picnic and Bike the Blossoms.
- Chilliwack Tulip Festival – an impressive event in the Fraser Valley in April. It’s not a festival with music and entertainment, and it doesn’t have a Japanese theme. It does though celebrate spring and showcase millions of beautiful flowers.
- Abbotsford Tulip Festival – an equally impressive flower festival in Abbotsford in April (which also doesn’t feature cherry blossoms).
- Powell Street Festival – a distinctly Japanese event in Vancouver on the August Long Weekend.
- Nikkei Matsuri – a Japanese festival at the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre in Burnaby on the Labour Day Long Weekend.
For more details about the spring event at Gary Point Park, see the City of Richmond’s website by clicking Richmond Cherry Blossom Festival.