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Philadelphia’s 2016 Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival Benefits School for the Deaf

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The 2016 Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival is this week in Philadelphia

The 2016 Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival is this week in Philadelphia

2016 marks the 13th year that Subaru has sponsored the Cherry Blossom Festival in Philadelphia. The 2016 Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival will be held from today, April 11th, through the 17th in the City of Brotherly Love, as an annual reminder of the 1,600 cherry blossom trees that Japan donated to Philly as a “gesture of friendship” 90 years ago, back in 1926. The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP) will present this year’s festival alongside Subaru.


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The Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates Japan's donation of 1,600 cherry blossoms to Philadelphia in 1926

The Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates Japan’s donation of 1,600 cherry blossoms to Philadelphia in 1926

As a smaller reminder of the generous donation from Japan 90 years prior, Subaru and JASGP will donate a grove of cherry blossoms to the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf on April 13th. All 180 students of the school will be in attendance, as will Adelaide Ferguson, chairperson for the 2016 Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival; Sheila Hess, City Representative; and Matthew Ritter, Zone Director of the Eastern Region for Subaru of America.

The event at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf will play host to three special experiences, all of which are seemingly auditory in nature but are actually hand-crafted for a deaf audience.

First, the event will be marked with the National Anthem, signed instead of sung.

Then, the event will continue with a vivid reading of Japanese folklore. How will this appeal to an overwhelmingly hearing-impaired audience? I reached out to JASGP for more details. Aside from sign interpreters, the reading will be enhanced with “beautiful, Japanese illustrations that tell the story as well,” according to Hope Horwitz, PR contact for JASGP. These illustrations will be projected onto screens.

Even more unique is the third event, which is a drumming performance from the Kyodaiko Drummers. Horwitz told me that the students will “actually ‘hear’ the performance through the vibrations in the floor.” Horwitz promised a “quite remarkable” experience for the students.

The Kyodaiko Drummers will provide a "remarkable" experience for the students during Philadelphia’s 2016 Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival

The Kyodaiko Drummers will provide a “remarkable” experience for the students during Philadelphia’s 2016 Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival
Photo: Facebook

But the event at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf is just one of many this week. In fact, the week-long festival is a great opportunity for Pennsylvanian families and tourists to get outside (assuming the weather is nice) and experience an array of Japanese traditional and contemporary food, music, art, and culture. Families will enjoy live music and dance performances, as well as martial arts demonstrations. The festivities conclude on Sakura Sunday (April 17th), with a day-long outdoor event.

“Each year the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival joins the community in welcoming the much anticipated arrival of spring,” remarked Thomas J. Doll, president and chief operating officer at Subaru of America and Motor Trend’s Person of the Year in 2015. “We are honored to once again partner with the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia for this cherished celebration that encourages unity to help people better understand the cultural customs of both Japan and the United States.”


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Learn more about the 2016 Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival here.

  • Timothy MooreManaging Editor

    Timothy Moore hails from Dayton, Ohio, and tries to bring that Midwestern flavor to his writing. (But as it turns out, no one really likes the Midwestern flavor.) He has been covering the auto industry for years, with several national auto shows under his belt, but he’s been writing about lots of other things (like dragons and Mickey Mouse and cows drowning in milk) since he was just a tot. Outside of the land of cars, Timothy enjoys watching The Office and consuming excessive amounts of peanut butter and beer, and is on the board of an up-and-coming Dayton theatre company called The Playground. And when he’s not on stage (or three jars into a peanut butter binge), Timothy spends time with his mischievous dog, Greyson. See more articles by Timothy.