Catch the Cherry Blossom Festival this weekend at the Buffalo History Museum.

Forget the gloomy weather we’ve had this week and think pink: This weekend is the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Buffalo History Museum, where hundreds of people will flock to the Japanese Garden and celebrate ornamental trees that have become the picture perfect symbol of spring.

This is the 11th year for the festival, celebrating the arrival of those delicate pink flowers blooming on the trees, gifted to the city of Buffalo and the Buffalo History Museum by our sister city of Kanazawa, Japan. The Japanese Garden is maintained by the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and, as it is a public garden, admittance to the festival grounds -- and the park itself, all year ‘round -- is free. There’s free admission to the Buffalo History Museum this weekend as well and visitors to the park are encouraged to make a stop as part of the celebration.

There will be cultural displays throughout the garden and the museum alike, with informational tables and demonstrations of bonsai, folk dolls and origami. Learn a little about Kanazawa and how Buffalo developed a relationship with this Japanese city located about 180 miles northwest of Tokyo (or a 19 hour flight with several stops and layovers from Buffalo).

The Japan Culture Center of Western New York says the relationship between Buffalo and Kanazawa began in 1962, growing stronger each year through cultural exchanges, including representatives from the Japan Culture Center participating in the annual Kanazawa Marathon. There’s even a mural, located not at the History Museum but at 290 Ellicott Street, near the Central Library, symbolizing the relationship between the cities: Kanazawa is represented by trees from the Kenroku-en Garden and Kanazawa Castle, and Buffalo represented by the Japanese Garden and Buffalo History Museum, with a few bison nibbling on grass under the blooming cherry trees.

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On Saturday, April 27, the festival kicks off with live music sponsored by Music is Art, starting on the Portico stage with Mikayla Manke at 11 a.m.; Levantino Piccini at 11:45; MYQ Farrow at noon; Michael DeLano at 1 p.m.; a second performance from Levantino Piccini at 1:45 and Bryan Dubay wrapping up the show at 2 p.m. On the Garden Stage, Maria Brzycky takes the stage at 11 a.m., followed by James Brennan at noon, Just Jen at 1 p.m. and Trever Stribing at 2 p.m. There will be food trucks from Tiny Thai, The Cereal Spot, Red Osier, Great Foodini, World of Desserts and the Udder Brothers ice cream bike for your enjoyment as well.

If the weather cooperates, there will be pink boat rides offered on Mirror Lake to allow guests to get a different view of the festivities -- keep your cameras handy!

Want to do something a little more adventurous and make a game out of your visit? There’s a Cherry Blossom Challenge kicking off Saturday at 11 a.m., an orienteering event you can learn more about here.

Student volunteers from McKinley High School’s horticulture program will be in the park all weekend, offering information on the trees, while members of the Taoist Tai Chi Society will practice their beautiful martial art in the garden.

There will be plenty of vendors on hand all weekend as well, ranging from Black Unicorn Wood and the Buffalo Ro-O-Zan Enkyoji Nichiren Buddhist Temple to Goblin Parlour Games and The Delightful Octopus; nonprofit organizations including Buffalo Urban League, Cradle Beach, Inc. and FeedMore WNY will also be in the park with information on how you can help make the City of Good Neighbors even stronger.

All of the fun returns for a second day on Sunday, including the Pink Parade, starting at 3 p.m. and featuring the Cherry Blossom Princess, musicians and other revelers promenading throughout the park to bring the festival to an end. Pink attire is encouraged.

The musical offerings on Sunday include, on the Portico Stage, Molly Conrad at 11 a.m., Odori No Kai at 11:45 a.m., Spud at noon, Levantino Piccini at 12:45 p.m., Alex Cousins at 1 p.m., JGB Shibuki at 1:45 p.m. and Letter to Elise at 2 p.m. On the Garden Stage, Ryan Kaminski opens the performances at 11 a.m., followed by Snow Cricket at noon, Philip Stephen at 1 p.m. and Nico Zarcone at 2 p.m.

The full schedule of events, including a list of all vendors and nonprofits, can be found here.

Concert Calendar for Niagara Region and Western New York

A list of all the major and notable concerts coming to the area. At least, so far anyway.

Gallery Credit: Getty Images

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