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Release Date: March 28,2023
Downtown Akron Sakura Festival is Bigger, with More to Do This Year
March 28, 2023, Akron, OH — Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP) announces the Third Annual Downtown Akron Sakura Festival along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail on Saturday, April 15 from 4 to 8 p.m. This year, the celebration has been expanded to a festival, with a larger footprint and more activities. Areas of interest along the Towpath include The Mustill Store (4 – 6 p.m.), Williams Tower in Ohio & Erie Canal Park (4 – 6 p.m.), the Lock 3 Common Room, Lock 2 and the Towpath Trailhead at Spaghetti Warehouse.
The festival will include performances, Japanese music, a festive story walk, a sake and sushi tasting in Lock 3, crafts, local vendors offering bonsai, ikebana (flower arranging), traditional food and more. Activities and performances are scheduled to take place every 30 minutes throughout the festival. This family-friendly event is free and open to all. For a frequently updated schedule of the festival, check the DAP website: https://bit.ly/AkronSakuraFestival23.
DAP will join the Japanese Association of Northeast Ohio (JANO), with help from the learners of NIHF STEM Middle School, in following the blossoms as they emerge, and will use social media to invite visitors to view their splendor throughout the brief bloom. Follow DAP on social media at @downtownakron or check the organization’s website in the coming days for updates on the blossoms. The exact blooming dates of the trees are difficult to predict and only last a handful of days, but the festival will take place April 15 regardless.
If the blossoms are not at peak bloom during the April 15 festival, DAP will also set out thousands of luminarias on the trail during one of the peak blooming days. Follow DAP on social media for updates on the placement of luminarias, wind chimes and tree lights. During the blooming cycle, DAP will host a photo contest on social media, with prizes awarded to the top three photographers chosen by guest judges. New for 2023, DAP also plans to add a haiku contest to the blossoming period.
DAP President and CEO Suzie Graham says, “We are excited to be able to expand the Sakura celebration into a full-fledged festival with multiple ways to enjoy and celebrate the wonderful public space that is the Towpath Trail, and which runs right through downtown’s backyard. It is especially enchanting each spring, when, thanks to JANO and the City of Akron, the 470+ Japanese Cherry Blossom trees fill the trail with delicate pink and white blossoms.”
The 2022 Sakura celebration drew more than 1,200 people. DAP worked in partnership to put on the celebration with JANO, Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition, Alpha Phi Alpha Homes, Inc., Akron Civic Commons, and the City of Akron, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. With the help of numerous volunteers, DAP placed thousands of luminarias along the path, planted solar-powered landscape lights to illuminate many of the trees and placed wind chimes in their branches, adding to the festive atmosphere of the celebration.
Between 2011 and 2012, the City of Akron, with support from JANO, planted 472 cherry blossom trees along the Towpath Trail. Every spring, for a handful of days, the trees emerge with beautiful blooms, heralding the coming of spring downtown.
Parking and Points of Entry
Parking is available behind Spaghetti Warehouse, and the Towpath is accessible directly behind the parking lot.
Parking is also available in the State St. parking deck. The Towpath is accessible from the State St. trailhead entry (behind Canal Park Stadium).
Parking for the Mustill Store is located on 57 W. North St. at the Mustill Store, or across the street at the Towpath Trailhead going south.
Parking for Williams Tower is located in the Channelwood lot, located behind Williams Tower, off of Dart Ave.