Arts & Entertainment

Santa Anita to Host 11th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival

japanese wedding
Chiyommi and The ORIGINAL “Wedding Dress” and its stories & photos will be presented
at the Cherry Blossom Festival CBFSoCal “Camp Stories ” Award Show -Courtesy Photo

The 11th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which celebrates the history and culture of Americans of Japanese descent through the beauty of cherry blossoms, will be hosted by Santa Anita Park on Saturday, June 2.
The public is invited to the Festival which gets underway with a breakfast reception and auction in the track’s Turf Club at 8:30 a.m. Seating is available for breakfast both inside and outside.
Breakfast will be followed by an awards program in the Turf Club Chandelier Room at 10 a.m. A walking tour, which provides historical perspective, will be conducted at 11:30 a.m.
Several Japanese-Americans and organizations will be honored, including Hiroshi Kashiwagi, who is a Nisei poet, actor and playwright. Kashiwagi was detained during World War II at the Tule Lake Segregation Center in California’s Owens Valley.
Esther Takei Nishio, who faced extreme prejudice when allowed to attend Pasadena City College in 1944, will also be honored.
Entertainment throughout the day will include music by Kathy Bee, who will perform her original songs “Do the Dream” and “I Am An American.”
Music from the 1940s will be provided by the Grateful Crane Ensembles’ Scott Nagatani and Keiko Kawashima.
Multimedia presentations will include stories of “The Wedding Dress” and a photo display.
“We feel honored that this highly respected organization, which has a membership of more than 60,000 people, has chosen Santa Anita as the site for this very prestigious annual event,” said Santa Anita Director of Community Services and Special Projects Pete Siberell. “Due in large part to the fact Santa Anita was closed for racing during World War II, serving for a period of time as an assembly center for Japanese Americans who were then sent to relocation camps throughout the country, there is still great interest in what happened here 70 years ago.
“Most of those who will attend The Cherry Blossom Festival are descendants of those who spent time here and many of these folks are following up on what they’ve been told about the experience from family members. Again, it’s an honor for us to be able to host these folks and allow them to learn more about what their friends and relatives experienced during a very difficult period in our nation’s history.”
Those wishing to attend The Cherry Blossom Festival can purchase reserved seating for $60.00. For V.I.P. tickets, sponsorships and group tickets, visit, or call (626) 683-8243.

May 24, 2012

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