New Jersey Celebrates Spring with Nation’s Largest Display of Cherry Blossoms


NEWARK, N.J., March 23 /PRNewswire/ — Love the cherry blossoms, but hate the crowds? Branch Brook Park, located in Newark and Belleville, NJ, is an inviting alternative to the crowds who flock to the cherry blossoms annually in Washington, DC. The park’s 30th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival runs from April 9-23, as more than 2,700 Japanese cherry trees — said to be the largest display in the nation — take center stage. At its height, the Cherry Blossom Festival attracts more than 10,000 people a day — quite a contrast from the million or more expected in Washington while the flowers are in bloom.

Getting to the cherry blossoms is easy from anywhere in the tri-state area — Newark is central to several interstate highways, and bus and train service provided by NJ Transit (1-800-772-2222; http://www.njtransit.com/) from New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal and Penn Station feed directly into Newark’s convenient Pennsylvania Station, a major transportation hub where Amtrak rail service (1-800 USA RAIL; http://www.amtrak.com/) is also available.

Visitors can enjoy the cherry blossoms in a variety of ways:

Run Through the Cherry Blossoms (April 9, 2006) — This kick-off event begins with a children’s fun run at 9 a.m., followed by a 10K race at 10 a.m. The disabled will begin at 10:10 a.m. (For more information and an application call 973.268.3500 ext. 4)

Singing the Blooms Away (April 13, 2006) — The Cherry Blossom Concert will be held at the Belleville Public Library on Washington Avenue in Belleville at 7 p.m. (For more information call 973.450.3300)

Swing Into Spring with the Cherry Blossom Festival Gala (April 18, 2006) — The gala, held to benefit the Branch Brook Park Alliance’s capital projects fund, will be held at the recently renovated Nanina’s in the Park. The gala will begin at 5:30 p.m. with tours of the park, and carriage rides will complete the evening. (For more information and for tickets, call Evergreen Partners at 908.322.1100)

Essex County’s Bloomfest (April 23, 2006) — From 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. enjoy Japanese cultural activities, demonstrations, performances, arts and crafts and family fun. The event should be right in time for peak bloom! (For more information call 973.268.3500 ext. 4)

Cherry Blossom Bike Tour (April 22, 2006) — The tour, co-sponsored by the Essex County Parks System and Premiere Cycling Promotions, will be from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. The tour will run through Branch Brook Park, Heller Parkway and Lake Street. (For more information call 973.744.7252)

For further information on the 30th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival and events, log onto http://www.branchbrookpark.org/event.htm. For further information on other events and attractions happening throughout the state of New Jersey, log onto visitnj.org.

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