Senate Bill 146 was passed in 2017 designating the third Saturday in March as Cherry Blossom Day in Salem. Cherry Blossom Day at the Capitol, taking place this year on March 18, was created to celebrate the cherry blossom trees on the Capitol Mall, and organically became a celebration of the Japanese cultural influence in Oregon due to the significance of the cherry blossom (Sakura) to their community.
This is the first in-person Cherry Blossom Day since 2019, due to the pandemic. There will be free and family-friendly activities in State Capitol State Park on the Capitol Mall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Perfectly aligned on each side with Akebono cherry trees, the mall makes an amazing backdrop for the celebration and for thousands of photographs that visitors take annually. Speaking of photos, the Capitol will be posting the updates of the blooms to its Facebook and Instagram accounts beginning March 1 to share the status of the trees with the annual “Bloom Watch.”
The public can join the festivities by using #CherryBlossomDay on their social media posts and sharing their Cherry Blossom Day excursions and activities.
The program for Cherry Blossom Day is as follows:
• 11 a.m. Monmouth Taiko
• 11:45 a.m. Kimono Dance
• 11:55 a.m. City of Salem Mayor Chris Hoy reads proclamation and presents new City of Salem flags to Salem Kawagoe Sister Cities
• Noon Martial Arts demonstration
• 12:30 p.m. Masumi Timson Koto performance
• 1 p.m. Kimono Fashion Show
• 1:30 p.m. Bon Dance
In addition to the program above, local organizations will have tables with free activities.
For a second year, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will be hosting a “Yozakura.” This is viewing the cherry blossoms at night. Parks staff will be illuminating the cherry blossoms with Japanese lanterns and lights, starting March 25 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The public is invited to partake in Yozakura by bringing a blanket, camping chairs, and a nighttime picnic to enjoy under the canopy of trees. This year, Koto player Masumi Timson will be filling the park with ambient music to enjoy while enjoying the event and a staff from Focal Point Photography in Dallas will be in the park sharing how to take nighttime photos and macro photos of the blossoms.
Be aware that alcohol is not allowed in State Capitol State Park (without permits) and the park closes at 10 p.m. The lanterns and lights will continue nightly through the week, ending on Saturday, April 1 at 9 p.m.
The Oregon State Capitol Foundation is the presenting sponsor of these events. For more information on the foundation, visit oregoncapitolfoundation.org.
For more information on events at the Capitol, call Visitor Services at 503-986-1388 or visit the events page at oregoncapitol.com .