Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival, April 24-26, Seattle Center.

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Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival at Seattle Center this weekend, April 24 through 26, has been a local spring tradition since 1976, when it was founded to celebrate Japan’s gift of 1,000 cherry trees to Seattle for America’s bicentennial.

Blooming pink cherry trees are a favorite sign of spring here and in Japan, where the centuries-old tradition of Hanami, appreciation of cherry blossoms as a reminder to celebrate life, provide ideal timing to honor the long relationship between the people of Japan and Seattle.

Exhibits throughout the festival include “Handcrafted Forms: Traditions and Techniques”; the 70th anniversary of World War II; “Wakayama in All Its Splendor” photo exhibition; and comics.

Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival

Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, April 24 to 26.

Cost: Free.

Location: Seattle Center, Seattle.

More info: 206-684-7200 or or

Taiko drumming, opera, chorus and jazz are among entertainment options on indoor and outdoor stages, along with lectures, films and martial- arts demonstrations of karate, aikido, judo, kendo and kempo. Hands-on activities include origami, with origami plane contests in front of Fisher Pavilion 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; calligraphy; and Ikebana flower-arranging displays and demonstrations.

Demonstrations of Chado, the formal Tea Ceremony illustrating Japanese principles of harmony with nature, respect for others, purity of heart and tranquillity, is at 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at the Fisher Pavilion Tea House. Kids’ activities include puppet shows, storytelling, kite-making, games and toys.

The Seattle-Kobe Sister City Organization provides kimono and yukata, traditional garments worn on special occasions, and expert assistance to help visitors try them on, with photo keepsakes in the special attire available for a small donation.

Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with opening ceremony 6 to 7 p.m. Friday on the Armory main stage and closing ceremony 5:30 p.m. Sunday on the Fisher Pavilion main stage. Seattle Center’s website offers information on transportation and parking and other events and attractions on the Center grounds.