2016 Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Opens This Week

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The 49th Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival opens this weekend, April 9-10, and continues April 16-17 with traditional and new Japanese cultural demonstrations

The festival is grateful for the generous contributions by its major sponsors - Rich Hashimoto, Co-Chair, Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival

The executive committee of the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival is happy to announce the opening weekend for the 49th Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival on April 9 & 10, 2015 and, is free to the public. The festival continues on April 16 and 17 with the Grand Parade will be on April 17 starting from SF Civic Center and ending in Japantown.

“The festival is grateful for the generous contributions by its premier sponsors – Grants for the Arts, Sapporo USA, Union Bank, Otsuka America, JiNS, Japan AIrlines, Kintetsu International Express, American Airlines, Samsung and NBC Bay Area and, its local premier community sponsors Consulate General of Japan, Henri & Tomoe Takahashi Foundation and, Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California. Without these benevolent sponsors, we would not be able to hold the festival to the level and quality we want to provide to our visitors and friends each and every year,” says Rich Hashimoto, co-chair of the 2016 Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival. We are also grateful for the countless volunteers that come from all over Northern California to help produce this quality festival. There is no paid staff which makes this event organized in true community spirit.

The festival is announcing items to watch out for at the 2016 Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival:

1. Sakura 360 Area
An expanded Sakura 360 Area is coming back to the festival during the first weekend, April 9 and 10. The area aims to embody the spirit of the “new Japan”, involving fashion, gaming, and anime that are currently trending in both America and Japan. The stage, presented by AT&T, will showcase local bands and performers focused on the new culture of Japan.

2. Sanrio’s Kids Corner and Hello Kitty Cafe Truck
Families with children are always welcome to Sanrio’s Kid Corner, April 9, 10 & 16. The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck will make its 2nd appearance and will be in the Hello Kitty Area of the festival.

3. Broadcast / Media Tent By AT&T
AT&T is joining us this year as the first ever Broadcast Sponsor to help provide a backdrop and an area for official Cherry Blossom Festival interviews. AT&T is also bringing the Grand Parade UStream to everyone at home.

4. Sapporo USA Beer Gardens and Sake Tasting
This year will feature two Sapporo sponsored beer gardens and an expanded area to enjoy and relax. During the first weekend, we will also have a sake tasting area from four renowned Bay Area sake companies sampling some of their premium grade sakes. This will truly be a real treat for sake connoisseurs.

5. NBC Bay Area Sports Tent
Festival attendees will have an opportunity to take photos with their favorite giant Giant’s cut-out faces, play sports games and see some of the local NBC 11 personalities. NBC 11 will be featuring a giveaway trip to Hawaii.

6. “Wish for Peace” Interactive Art Exhibit - sponsored by the Asian Art Museum. We are pleased to announce that the Asian Art Museum’s booth at this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival. Appropriately themed will focus on a “Wish for World Peace” to promote the festival’s wishes for world peace. The booth will be an interactive art experience with local artist Rie. Festival-goers can color one of the 1,000 cranes Rie has drawn on stickers, then post their creations onto a large canvas. The canvas artwork will take form over the course of two days, April 9 and 10.

7. Grand Parade Grand Marshal - Norman Mineta
We are truly honored to announce Norman Y. Mineta as this year’s festival Grand Marshal. Mineta is the President and CEO of Mineta and Associates, LLC and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Secretary of Transportation. He is well known for his work in the areas of transportation—including aviation, surface transportation and infrastructure—and national security. He is recognized for his accomplishments in economic development, science and technology policy, foreign and domestic trade, budgetary issues and civil rights. Mineta's career in public service has been both distinguished and unique. For almost 30 years, Mineta represented San Jose, California, first on the City Council, then as mayor and then as a member of the U.S. Congress.

8. NCCBF App
Currently under development, the NCCBF app will soon be available on iOS devices and Android devices to check festival schedules.

9. Performers from Japan
Each year the festival welcomes performers from Japan. We have over 6 groups from Japan joining us. This year, a 25-string, Koto player, Tomoya Nakai will be a highlighted Japanese performer on the Peace Plaza stage on April 9 at 3:30p

10. Kendama USA
The Consulate General of Japan is partnering with Kendama USA to present the first ever Northern California Kendama Championship – dubbed the “Sakura Classic”! The competition will take place on the first weekend of the festival, April 9 and 10, and culminate with a finals match on the Peace Plaza stage from 4:30pm-4:45pm on Sunday the 10th.

The 2016 NCCBF performers and schedules is available at. http://bit.ly/2016NCCBFSchedules for the latest information.

For media and press pass requests, please visit http://bit.ly/SFCherryBlossomMediaInfo or our media contact in the press release.

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Greg Viloria

Rich Hashimoto
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