Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival draws crowds at Public Square Park

Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival returns
Posted at 9:48 PM, Apr 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-10 06:39:50-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It was an immersion of Japanese culture as the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival made its long-awaited return. For the first time since 2019, thousands gathered outside the Metro Courthouse for the festival.

"We didn't know what to expect but I think looking at the numbers of people that are here today I think it probably exceeded our expectations," said the festival's director, Ginger Byrn.

The cherry blossom symbolizes a new beginning, often ushering in a new season.

Byrn said, "almost all of our vendors here sell merchandise or exhibiting projects or are selling food, performing, doing martial arts demonstrations of traditional Japanese or contemporary Japanese culture."

The festival offered something for all ages.

The day began in the morning with a 2.5 mile "Cherry Blossom Walk" along the Cumberland River Greenway. Throughout the day attendees enjoyed live music, dances, and martial arts.

One of the festival's signature events was the Cosplay Contest in which contestants modeled handmade costumes for a $500 prize.

The festival dates back to 2009 when the first trees were planted in Public Square Park. "It was a project that was started by then Consulate-General of Japan in Nashville, Consulate-General Sato, and when he came to Nashville he had the idea of planting cherry trees because of the significance you know in Japan- the cherry blossom trees- and as a symbol of friendship," said Byrn.

Since then, the festival's Tree Planting Project has planted 1,000 trees throughout Nashville.

Now the sights, sounds, and tastes of Japan are back, ringing in a fresh start after a years-long hiatus