The Cherry Blossom Festival transitions to raise money for Japan.
As winter’s chill is coming to an end, the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia is presenting events, many free of charge, through April 15. Whether it’s the anime or the ethnic food, there is something appealing to anyone interested in the Japanese culture.
This particular festival, which has been going on for the past 13 years, originated in Washington, D.C., and is just now migrating to Philadelphia.
“Naturally, because of the earthquake [and] tsunami, we will be adding fundraising for disaster relief efforts to the programs, but we haven’t determined exactly how that will be done yet,” Luise Moskowitz, a Steege Thomson Communications associate, said. “Hopefully we will have it hammered down soon.”
Moskowitz is currently overseeing communications for the festival. The Japanese American Society of Philadelphia is waiting on a response from the Japanese government to determine the funds needed to help with relief efforts.
“It is still hard to assess how much funds need to [be] raised at this time, as the number of victims continues to go up every day,” said Aaron Dilliplane, the assistant director of the Japanese American Society of Greater Philadelphia.
In the wake of the earthquake, the tone of the festival has changed. People are shifting their focus to help the people of Japan.
Dilliplane had the opportunity to study abroad while in college in Japan where he stayed with a host family, which has sparked his interest in his current job.
“There were a lot of emotions to process when I first heard about the earthquake,” Dilliplane said. “I was really concerned about my host family. [In the midst of the Cherry Blossom Festival] people want to do what they can to help, while still honoring the festivals original spirit. People are looking for away to combine those feelings.”
On March 26, at the Hyatt at the Bellevue, the festival will host a colorful night consisting of a Japanese fusion menu, a live performance from the Silver Roots a varying array of entertainment.
To volunteer at this event or any other festivities involving the Cherry Blossom Festival, visit https://jasgp.org/cherryblossomfestival/.
Priscilla Ward can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.