Break out the planners – you have some major scheduling to do. Philadelphia will host three exciting festivals this April, the Cherry Blossom Festival, the Philadelphia Film Festival and DesignPhiladelphia. You don’t want May to come and find out you were the only one who missed the sake tasting at the Loews Hotel or David Duchovny’s feature film debut, House of D.
Whether you love avant-garde films, new and exciting foods or fashion and design, this spring Philadelphia has something for almost everyone. After April, May is going to seem so banal.
Cherry Blossom Festival
George Washington, complete with axe, would be in heaven at Philadelphia’s Cherry Blossom Festival, April 1-16. The festival, organized by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, commemorates the Japanese tradition of giving cherry trees as a gesture of friendship by planting 100 cherry trees every year in Fairmount Park.
“The two-week long festival celebrates not only the cherry trees, but all different aspects of Japanese culture, art and cuisine, and Japanese cultural items,” said Greta Hale, festival coordinator. “We are trying to increase awareness of Japanese culture in Philadelphia.”
Events include Japanese sword-fighting demonstrations by the master who choreographed and appeared in Kill Bill, Japanese traditional dance performances, story hours, kimono exhibits and tours of the Japanese House and Garden in Fairmount Park, just to name a few.
Events are held at various locations throughout the city and some are free. Tickets can be purchased on the festival’s Web site www.jasgp.org/sakura.
The Philadelphia Film Festival
The Philadelphia Film Festival, April 7-20, is quickly becoming one of the most important film festivals in the nation. Andrew Preis, director of media relations for the festival, said “It is the fastest growing in the country; we’ve bounced to the top 10.”
Almost 275 films from 40 countries will be shown at five venues, Ritz East, Ritz at the Bourse, Prince Music Theater, The Bridge and International House, with 259 films from 42 countries and 31 premieres.
“[The goal is to] bring the world’s imagination to Philadelphia,” Preis said. “We want to give people a feast of film. We are very big on diversity and variety so people can really get a taste of what is going on in film all around the world.”
Tickets for a single film are $9.50 and there are a variety of combination packages, all of which can be purchased online at www.phillyfests.com and at TLA Video Stores across the city. More information can be found at www.phillyfests.com.
DesignPhiladelphia, April 1-17, is a citywide collaborative event of gallery tours, public lectures, exhibitions, fashion shows and workshops at various venues throughout the city, according to the festival’s Web site.
The design and fashion forward celebration includes the Hollywood Chic Photography Exhibition at the Calderwood Gallery, 1622 Spruce St. and Back to Nature and Into the Future Fashion Show at Moore College of Art & Design, 20th Street & Ben Franklin Parkway. Different events are held daily and most are free, so check out DesignPhiladelphia’s Web site at www.designphiladelphia.org.
Josh Chamberlain can be reached at Joshch@temple.edu.