RI Cherry Blossom Festival Bigger Than Ever

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


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One of Rhode Island's most colorful seasonal and cultural events, the 3rd Annual RI Cherry Blossom Festival, will be bigger than ever.

Set for Saturday, May 21, the festival celebrates the ongoing revitalization of the Pawtucket & Central Falls “mill district” along the Blackstone American Heritage River, and features a diversity of cultural entertainment and fun events for the whole family.

It all began with cherry trees

In 2009, cherry trees were planted along Roosevelt Avenue sparking revitalization to the area. The plantings created the new festival that has become another signature public event in Rhode Island’s historic Blackstone River Valley.
This year, new happenings will highlight the area’s heritage and ethnic diversity, as well as provide a platform for athletic competition. Further, say organizers the festival will be collecting donations to benefit the victims of the disaster in Japan (currently, donations can also be made on the festival Web site, here).

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NEW: Rubber ducks on the Blackstone

Storage America has partnered with Gloria Gemma Resource Foundation sponsoring the first rubber duck race to float down the historic Blackstone River. Duck adoptions available by calling Rhonda M. Hiltz & Cindie Jack-Clarke at 475 9982 or online, here.
During the rubber duck race special guest appearances will feature RI Chapter Pink Heals, Harley Davidson, Road Scholar, Bobo the clown, Mark and Fran face painting, and a giant 15 foot duck sponsored by A&M Sheet Metal & Roofing. Also, activities will include a rock climbing wall, inflatable bouncy house, dunk tank, music battle of the bands, food and beverages sponsored by Roast House and Budweiser, and other fun surprises!

NEW: Free vegetable seedlings

New Urban Farmers, a community gardening non-profit in Pawtucket and Central Falls, will host Rhode Island’s largest giveaway ever of 5,000 free vegetable seedlings during the festival. This is to help educate people on the importance of sustainable living.

NEW: Expanded road races

Also, the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation and Mediapeel will be sponsoring three road races that make up the Cherry Tree Running Festival. They will be starting with the Blackstone Valley Half Marathon at 8 am, followed by the Cherry Blossom Youth 1K at 10:30 am, and the Kyle Coutu 5K road race at 11 am. For more information or to register for any of the races, go here.
Other new events at this year’s festival will include chocolate demonstrations, local artisans and crafters, local food vendors, Chinese cultural dancing, children’s activities, a health fair, and live entertainment.
In addition, for those wanting to discover the Blackstone River Valley’s captivating “farms to factories” background and experience casual recreation, there will be a 2 pm guided bicycle tour presented by Dr. Robert D. Billington, BVTC president.

Even George Washington will be there

Added to the Cherry Blossom Festival activities will be the Slater Mill exhibition on President George Washington: “The Many Faces of George Washington,” a national traveling exhibition that examines the multi-dimensional, real-life man behind the myth, opens at the Slater Mill Museum Gallery. Produced by George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, in conjunction with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, this exhibition presents the many different facets of Mr. Washington’s leadership through dazzling color graphics of paintings, photographs, and iconic objects from the Mount Vernon collections.

Also being planned to celebrate the diverse ethnicity of the Blackstone River Valley is a Latin American Heritage, Dance and Market Place Festival, with activities focused on the local Hispanic community.

Sponsors for the Cherry Blossom Festival are: the City of Pawtucket, the City of Central Falls, Tai-O, Pai-O, Storage America, The Pawtucket Foundation, Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, Mediapeel, Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Foundation, and New Urban Farmers.
For the latest updates and more details on this year’s event, contact the BVTC at 724-2200 or go to the event Web site.

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