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Cherry Blossom Festival brings the joy of Spring to Waikato

Praneeta Mahajan

Praneeta Mahajan

Hamilton, October 3, 2022

Every flower brings joy and smile at the Cherry Blossom Festival (Photo Supplied)

“If people did not love one another, I really don’t see what use there would be in having any spring.”- Victor Hugo

In an almost Utopian way, this saying proves to be true behind a mesmerising and honest Event planned every Year in the Waikato.

Blossfest- NZ Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual event, where the organiser Anne Chao and Paul Oulton open doors to their beautiful “English Cherry Tree Manor” and let the community at large experience the charm of walking under an array of fully bloomed Cherry Blossom trees underplanted with carpets of pink primulas or bluebells.

The atmosphere is very festive and it is a visual treat to see nature in full glory, complemented by members of the community dressed in their finest clothes, and cultural performances by various artists, ethnic groups and musicians. Two hectares of bounty to the community (Photo Supplied)

About the Festival

Planned over two weekends, the theme of September 24 to September 26, 2022, was the United Nations of New Zealand, a multicultural extravaganza and for October 1 to 3, 2022, it was the famous Bridgerton Spring Ball, a Regency-Jane-Austen era prance and pose.

From Street performers, stilt walkers, dancers, musicians, Chinese Dragon Dance and Alpaca feeding to Professional photography sessions with Costume Hire and even a carriage from Poland used in the 1800s to take people hunting, the place was a perfect mix of calm and excitement.

Many dignitaries graced the event and interacted with visitors, including Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate, Cook Islands Paramount Chief Pa Ariki, Japanese Minister and Deputy Head of Mission  Tatsushi Nishioka, Spanish Economic and Trade Commissioner Meng Ana Vich, Race Relations Officer Meng Foon Race Relations Commissioner, Labour MP Naisi Chen, ACT MP Dr James McDowall and Waikato District Councillor Jacqui Church.

Paul Oulton and Anne Chao decided to open the gardens to the community in 2017 so that people can enjoy themselves without trying to trespass. They thought that if they did some marketing with posters around the town, they might get a few hundred people to attend. They did none of that except for one Facebook post from which they quickly sold the limit of 2000 tickets. The event has grown manifold since then and is now a regular feature and the highlight of all Spring activities in Waikato.

A stilt walker greets a visitor at the Cherry Blossom Festival (Photo Supplied)

Something special for all

While arrangements were made for a day tour from Auckland with a pickup service from Britomart and Manukau and High Tea at the Festival, this was the first year that arrangements were made for Australians.

The package included three-to-seven day tours around Waikato in a bid to boost tourism to the region since the reopening of borders after the Covid-19 shutdown.

Ms Chao said, “There is something spiritual about these spring blossoms that cause people to want to make the pilgrimage. It is a time for people to reflect. We want to share this beautiful place and with the Festival, bring diverse communities together in a joyous and harmonious celebration of life in Aotearoa.”

She said that when a woman called saying that her mother suffered from dementia and that she would like her to visit the Festival, and witness the cherry blossoms and entertainment, the team made all the preparations and ensured that the Festival was wheelchair accessible, with mobility scooters and wheelchairs facility.

The event successfully concluded with the same amount of love and admiration from the community as all the previous years.

Praneeta Mahajan is our Waikato Reporter based in Hamilton.

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