Celebrating Toyokawa in Cupertino, California Cupertino's 34th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival

Festival attendees and entertainment performers at Memorial Park

The colorful and spirited Koinobori, or fish streamer kites, that adorn Japan's Spring landscape for Children's Day, were seen waving to the rhythmic beat of Taiko drums in Cupertino, California for the city's 34th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival. The event was held on Saturday and Sunday, April 29–30, 2017, across from De Anza College, at Memorial Park, Quinlan Community Center, and the Senior Center. The annual celebration of Cupertino's sister city, Toyokawa, Japan, was founded by the Cupertino Toyokawa Sister Cities Committee, a non-profit that aims to encourage friendship and student exchange programs between Cupertino, California and Toyokawa, Japan.

2017 Student delegation at the Cherry Blossom Festival(Image Courtesy of Facebook: CupertinoToyokawa)

Every Spring, the delegates and chaperones for the year, along with visiting dignitaries, are honored at the Cherry Blossom Festival; and when Autumn rolls around, the Toyokawa committee sends these middle school student delegates overseas for a cultural exchange program through the Cupertino Union School District. Since the city's first Cherry Blossom Festival in 1983, the organization has sent and welcomed many eager students to and from the city of Toyokawa. In addition, they have raised $28,500 for earthquake and tsunami relief back in March of 2011, but most importantly, they have kept the relationship between the two cities alive and flourishing for the past several decades.

Performers in traditional Japanese costumes preparing for their act
San Jose Taiko performing their choreographed set

The weekend festival featured a wide variety of entertainment acts at the Memorial Park Outdoor Amphitheater including Maikaze Taiko and ceremonial drum performances, Japanese Classical Dance and Martial Arts, a musical chorus and ukulele band, as well as a Kimono dressing demonstration. The event also included Japanese food and beverage, cultural exhibits in the Quinlan Center, merchandise booths, and entertainment including carnival games and a petting zoo.

Friends and families gathered on the grassy hills of Memorial Park to watch various music and dance performances.

Many stopped by to admire and purchase traditional Japanese Bonsai plants along with jewelry, purses, succulents, and clothing.

A Bamboo Flute-Making craftsman taught children how to create their very own wooden wind instruments.

This year's festival was full of Japanese snacks and dishes like musubi, mochi, soba noodles, sushi, shaved ice, and of course, carnival classics like kettle corn.

From Left to Right: Admiring the Koinobori, Woman in sun hat watching the San Jose Taiko performance, Friends browsing through a vendor's crystal and rock collection

"News from our sister city of Toyokawa –the Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom! Beautiful!"

(Image & Caption Courtesy of Facebook: @CupertinoToyokawa on 04/17/17)

For more info on Cupertino's Annual Cherry Blossom Festival, call the Cupertino Sister Cities at (408) 252-2303 or visit the committee website. Stay tuned for next year's festival announcement!


Did you know that Cupertino has sister cities in Japan, Taiwan, Italy, and India?

(Image Courtesy of Facebook: CupertinoToyokawa)
(Image Courtesy of CHSCA: http://chsca.wikispaces.com/}
(Image Courtesy of Cupertino.org: http://www.cupertino.org/index.aspx?page=1168)
(Image Courtesy of Cupertino.org: http://www.cupertino.org/index.aspx?page=1438)

This article was written by Lydia Baik and published on May 1, 2017. All photographs were provided by Lydia Baik, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

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Lydia Baik

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