Oregon State Capitol State Park

Celebrations in the Cherry City

Among dozens of blooming cherry trees, the Oregon State Capitol will host its third annual Cherry Blossom Day on March 18. On and off for more than 100 years, the Mid-Willamette Valley held festivities to celebrate the area’s abundant cherry orchards. Today, the celebrations highlight the importance of cherry trees in the region and the rich impact of Japanese culture on the state. 

Fish printingKick off the celebrations with a 5K run and walk on Saturday morning. The course will travel around the Capitol Mall, Willson Park, Oregon WWII Memorial and finish under the blooming trees to the beat of Japanese drummers. 

From kite flying to cherry tasting, the Capitol will host numerous free, family-friendly activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guests can immerse themselves in Japanese culture by participating in Gyotaku (fish printing), origami and calligraphy. Traditional Japanese performances and exhibits, including a tea ceremony, Taiko drumming and chorus music and dance, will also take place throughout the day. 

Tower tours of the Capitol will open for the 2017 season on Cherry Blossom Day. Tours are scheduled for 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., weather permitting. There will also be guided botanical tours of the State Capitol State Park. 

If you can’t make it to the festival, the Salem Theatre Network will host a city-wide theater event throughout the weekend. The Cherry Blossom Theatre Festival will feature 20 performances and workshops at six venues in downtown Salem. The shows will be paired with some of the Willamette Valley’s best wines, brews and food. 

KimonoSeveral local businesses will also celebrate cherry blossom season throughout the coming weeks. Through May 17, The Word Beat Gallery will feature a special exhibition entitled, “Kitsuke: The Art of Wearing Kimono.” Capital Community Television will have a collection of cherry-blossom themed works of art on display from March 1 to April 30. A collection of Japanese parasols will also be displayed in various downtown businesses.

For more events happening in the Cherry City, visit the Travel Salem event calendar