Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival 2017

I have written about the Cherry Blossom Festival at Essex County's Branch Brook Park here since I started the blog - but there are still lots of people in NJ and outside our state that don't know about it.

Branch Brook Park has more than 2,700 Japanese cherry blossom trees that burst into full bloom during the annual Festival. Washington D.C. is famous for its cherry trees sent there as a gift from Japan, but it is far less known that Branch Brook Park has more cherry trees than Washington D.C.  In fact, it is the largest cherry blossom collection in the United States.

Here are some upcoming events:

Cherry Blossom 10K Run
Run through the historic cherry tree groves in this race that is sanctioned by the USATF and is Women’s Master’s Championship race. A portion of the race proceeds benefit the Special Olympics. Online registration can be done at www.compuscore.comSame day registration begins at 8 a.m. Advanced registration is recommended. Race starts at 10 a.m. It’s free to enter the park and watch. The Cherry Blossom 10K Run will be held as follows:

Date:              Sunday, April 9, 2017
Time:              Registration: 8 a.m.
                                               10K Race: 10 a.m.
                        Place:             Essex County Branch Brook Park
                                                Cherry Blossom Center
                                                Mill Street
                                                Newark, NJ

Cherry Blossom Guided Tours
Have knowledgeable guides take you on a 45-minute journey and point out over 120 years of history hidden within Essex County Branch Brook Park’s structure and design. Tours leave from the Essex County Cherry Blossom Welcome Center daily at 11 a.m.12 Noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Transportation around the park is provided. Tickets are $5 person and can be reserved by calling 973-433-7469. Tickets also will be available for purchase in the Cherry Blossom Welcome Center on days the tours are being held. Space is limited. For group or private tour bookings, call 973-433-7469. The Trolley Tours will be held as follows:

Dates:             Sunday, April 16th through Saturday, April 22nd 
Times:            11 a.m., 12 Noon1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
Place:             Essex County Branch Brook Park
Cherry Blossom Welcome Center
Mill Street
Newark, NJ

1-Mile Fun Run and Walk
Celebrate the arrival of spring and get fit with your family or friends. Children are encouraged to run individually or as a member of a school team. Schools and groups must register in advance by calling 973-268-3500This is a free event. All participants will receive a commemorative T-shirt. The Fun Run and Walk will be held as follows:

                        Date:               Saturday, April 22, 2017
                        Time:               8 a.m. Registration
                                                10 a.m. Race
                        Place:              Essex County Branch Brook Park
                                                Southern Division, Prudential Concert Grove
                                                Newark, NJ

Essex County Family Day
The public is encouraged to come out and enjoy an afternoon of family-fun with a variety of events including live performances, children’s activities, a fishing derby and more. Bring your own picnic lunch or purchase food from vendors who will be on site and enjoy the picturesque views overlooking the lake. Admission is free but food and other merchandise will be for sale. The Family Day will be held as follows:

                        Date:               Saturday, April 22, 2017
                        Time:              11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
                        Place:             Essex County Branch Brook Park
                                                Southern Division, Prudential Concert Grove
                                                Newark, NJ

Enjoy a family day in the pink park! A packed schedule of events includes cultural demonstrations, children's activities, live music, a crafter's marketplace, food and more at the Cherry Blossom Welcome Center. Winners from the “Why My Essex County Park is Important to Me” essay contest for 4th graders and “Cherry Blossom Poster Contest” for 6th graders will be recognized on stage. Additional musical performances will be held at the Prudential Concert Grove. Admission is free; food and merchandise will be for sale. Bloomfest will be as follows:

Date:                          Sunday, April 23, 2017
Times:                        11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Place:                         Essex County Branch Brook Park
Main Areas:               Cherry Blossom Center
                                                           Mill Street, Newark, NJ
                        Second Stage:          Southern Division, Prudential Concert Grove
                                                            Newark, NJ
Historic Tours by Cell Phone
This free, self-guided historic walking tour can be accessed by cell phone or smart phone. Spend the day exploring all 72 tour stops or pick and choose your favorites. One call to 973-433-9047 or a scan of the bar code at each tour stop unlocks a world of park history and horticultural information.

History, driving directions, a complete list of activities and a web cam where the public can monitor the cherry trees for the peak of the bloom season can be accessed by visiting More information can also be obtained by calling 973-433-9047.

The Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival is hosted by the Essex County Department of Parks, 
Recreation and Cultural Affairs. It is sponsored by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ.

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