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Journey Through Japan: Hot Springs Cherry Blossom Festival benefits Sister City Program

Hot Springs Cherry Blossom Festival benefits Sister City Program by Cary Jenkins | April 4, 2021 at 2:44 p.m.
Maymumi ( cq) Staton, Chris and Seble (cq) Vesenka and Mary Staton on 03/21/2021 at a Cherry Blossom Festival in Hot Springs (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Cary Jenkins)

HOT SPRINGS -- Guests entered the fourth Annual Cherry Blossom Festival on March 21 through a torii gate at the Hot Springs Convention Center surrounded by branches of tissue-paper cherry blossoms and to the sound of a taiko drummer.

Hosted by the Hot Springs National Park Sister City Program, the Journey Through Japan featured screens projecting images of the four seasons of Japan and a large screen with images of cherry blossoms. There was a large display of kimonos and obis, cultural exhibits and a chance for festivalgoers to make origami, practice calligraphy and write haiku. An exhibit commemorated the 10-year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami and another exhibit featured items from Hot Springs' sister city, Hanamaki.

Gallery: 4th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival

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Due to covid, guests were required to sign up for the free event and arrive at different intervals; a silent auction was held online.

Money raised from the silent auction goes for a scholarship fund for Garland County students to travel to Hanamaki as part of a yearly delegation.

-- Story and photos by Cary Jenkins

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