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Essex County Prepares for 38th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival

4-4-14

By Christine Valdez
Web Production Assistant

As the cherry blossom trees prepare to bloom, Essex County prepares to host its annual Cherry Blossom Festival.

The 38th annual Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival is set to begin April 5, as announced in a statement by Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. Along with the various cherry blossom trees that surround the landscape of Branch Brook Park, various events and festivities throughout Newark and Belleville have been scheduled.

DiVincenzo says that the festival will also celebrate other aspects of culture.

“This spring, Essex County will celebrate the importance of art, history and culture with our annual Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival,” DiVincenzo said. “The week-long event offers family activities that highlight both the history of the Essex County Park System and Japanese arts and culture.”

Within the upcoming festival, there will be walks, runs and bike races.

During the Cherry Blossom Festival, the park receives many visitors, as it does throughout the year.

“We welcome hundreds of thousands of people to Branch Brook Park every year for the Cherry Blossom Festival as well as for youth recreation and other activities,” said Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura.

Fontoura even remembers experiencing the festival as a kid.

“As a child, I remember visiting this park to experience the cherry blossoms,” said Fontoura. “It’s a magnificent place.”

Along with the races and walks planned throughout the week, tours will also be available. Cell phone tours will be available for visitors to the park, where they can dial a number and get a short history of the park. Guided tours will be available as well.

The festival marks the start of a new season following the winter weather in the region, according to Branch Brook Park Alliance Co-Chair Barbara Bell Coleman.

“After such a cold winter, we are all ready for a season of renewal,” said Coleman. “This is one of the busiest and most beautiful parks in the state.”

Below is the list of events happening for the Annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Branch Brook Park.

Event: Cherry Blossom Challenge: Annual Bike Race
Date: April 5
Time: 7 a.m. first race, noon last race
Location: Essex County Branch Brook Park, Northern Division, Heller Parkway, Newark
Website: http://www.essexcherryblossom.com/index.php/events/cherry-blossom-challenge-annual-bike-race

Event: Cherry Blossom 10K Run
Date: April 6
Time: 8 a.m. registration, 10 a.m. race
Location: Essex County Branch Brook Park, Cherry Blossom Visitor’s Center, Mill Street Entrance, Belleville
Website: http://www.essexcherryblossom.com/index.php/events/cherry-blossom-10k-run

Event:Historic Park Tours
Date: April 11, 12 to 3 p.m.
Location: Branch Brook Park
Admission: $5
Contact: 973-239-2495
Website: http://www.essexcherryblossom.com/index.php/events/trolley

Event: Children’s One-Mile Fun Run/Walk
Date: April 12
Time: 8 a.m. registration, 10 a.m. race
Location: Essex County Branch Brook Park, Souther Division, Park Street Entrance, Newark
Website: http://www.essexcherryblossom.com/index.php/events/childrens-one-mile-fun-runwalk

Event: Family Fun Day
Date: April 12
Time: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: Essex County Branch Brook Park, Concert Grove, Southern Division, Park Street entrance, Newark
Admission: Free
Website: http://www.essexcherryblossom.com/index.php/events/family-fun-day

Event: Bloomfest
Date: April 13
Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Essex County Branch Brook Park, Cherry Blossom visitor’s center, Mill Street Entrance, Belleville
Admission: Free
Website: http://www.essexcherryblossom.com/index.php/events/b

Event: Historic Park Tours
Date: April 16
Time: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Branch Brook Park
Admission: $5
Contact: 973-239-2495
Website: http://www.essexcherryblossom.com/index.php/events/trolley

Event: Historic Park Tours
Date: April 18
Time: 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: Branch Brook Park
Admission: $5
Contact: 973-239-2495
Website: http://www.essexcherryblossom.com/index.php/events/trolley

Event: Historic Park Tours
Date: April 19
Time: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Branch Brook Park
Admission: $5
Contact: 973-239-2495
Website: http://www.essexcherryblossom.com/index.php/events/trolley