Star Wars
Hungry Gamer
Cosplayers at Sakura 360. Photo by Brain Age Guy Cosplay.

San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival Blooms into Action

The cherry blossoms are blooming, and San Francisco celebrated it the best way it can: with a festival. The San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival (SF CBF) ran for two weekends in San Francisco’s Japan Town, bringing big crowds but also a lot to do.

11170353_10153300783102376_2697911303920471349_n
Skye Cosplay at Japan Town

Both weekends saw the Peace Plaza at Japan Town filled with attendees of all ages, there to enjoy the festival. It was not an anime-centric event, being focused on Japanese culture and tradition, although cosplayers were still in attendance and more than welcome. (More on that later.)

Advert
Save 20 on all pre-order statues at TFAW.com!

The main stage hosted several performances throughout the weekends, with taiko drummers, traditional Japanese dances, and presentations about Japan, its culture, and the businesses in San Francisco relating to it. The audience was always filled to the brim, with an overflow standing around to watch the events.

Advert
100% Awesome Official Dr Who Merchandise

The Japan Town mall itself was, of course, quite crowded from all the attendees. Maneuvering through them was a tad difficult, but there was plenty to see and buy. The shops around there sold kimonos, swords, anime and manga, and more, depending on where you looked. Of course, there were also many restaurants around, several with special deals for festival attendees, so ramen noodles or okonomiyaki were not hard to find, they just had quite a bit of wait time.

HNI_0035_MPO
The White Ranger and Rita Repulsa (or the Kiba Ranger and Bandora if you prefer the sentai)

Out on the streets, vendors and booths were set up around the road. There were social media streams, so those not present could see the events, as well as raffles, prize wheels, games, and shops. Inside the mall were a few booths for artists to sell their crafts, similar to what one would see at a convention’s artist alley. A Hello Kitty food truck was exceedingly popular, and one weekend saw a truck handing out free Pocky to attendees.

Advert

On the first weekend, there was a new addition: Sakura 360. This area included a stage for cosplayers and guests to participate in a range of games for all ages, including trivia contests about anime and video games, hot potato, and “Sempai Says,” which is really just Simon Says with the tagline “The game where you don’t want sempai to notice you.” The hosts were engaging and energetic, keeping the activities going strong throughout the entire weekend. There were also some great prizes for those who played, including DVDs, video games, and anime box sets.

Dayra Cat and Thomas Goggin as Ryuko and Sanageyama from Kill La Kill
Dayra Cat and Thomas Goggin as Ryuko and Sanageyama from Kill La Kill
Cosplayers at Sakura 360. Photo by Brain Age Guy Cosplay.
Cosplayers at Sakura 360. Photo by Brain Age Guy Cosplay.

Sakura 360 also offered a scavenger hunt. Attendees could find certain cosplayers and strike certain poses, then take a picture and upload it to social media with the #Sakura360 hashtag to win prizes. There were two tiers of prizes, depending on completion, but it also offered some big prizes for those who won fast enough.

The second Sunday was the grand parade, including the ever-popular cosplay parade. Cosplayers gathered at the Civic Center for pictures and contest judging, before entering the parade, with some of them riding on a float. It’s always a big draw, and although the weekend saw people split between Big Wow, Star Wars Celebration, and CBF, it still had a nice turnout.

11156388_10153821174968136_1683349937671481766_n
The cosplay parade. Photo by Asg Imaging.

The Cherry Blossom Festival is a yearly occurrence, so in 2016 we can look forward to another two weekends of activities, crowds, and cosplay.

Goth Geek Girl

About rpleasant

A would-be writer, who enjoys living the geek life and indulging in comics, cosplay, anime, and more. He hopes to one day have something created that other people can enjoy and review, but until then continues to work on various projects such as parodies and short stories.

Check Also

The Hungry Gamer Previews The 7th Citadel

Have you all heard about the latest tabletop game, The 7th Citadel by Serious Poulp? …

SuperHeroStuff - Shop Comics Now!