Downtown Denver Festivals: Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossom parasol dancers Denver June 2009I must be a dancing fool, because what I loved most about last weekend’s two festivals was the dancing, albeit of very different kinds (see Red Balloon Boy in action at the end of this post). My favorite was the 1st graders in white shirts and red bandanas performing to a Japanese-language version of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.” I admired the older dancers’ serious mien, even when their parasols blew off the stage.

In 2008 Todd was out of town the weekend of the Cherry Blossom Festival, and I spent the day at Sakura Square listening to a sermon at the Denver Buddhist Temple, watching a judo demonstration, and checking out the booths and bands.Cherry Blossom dolls Denver June 2009

This year, I recognized the vintage kimonos and swords from last year but also noticed two potters, these dolls, and Buddha Baby. I skipped the flower arrangement competition in the Denver Buddhist Temple and bought water instead of the egg roll I enjoyed in 2008.

Late morning I photographed scads of Japanese dancers, including this adorable redheadCherry Blossom redhead cropped Denver June 2009 joining in the dandelion dance (the seeds a reference to reincarnation). I’m of two minds about posting her picture. I think it’s OK because she was performing at a public festival, but then again, I didn’t get her parents’ permission. What do you think? Leave her in, or not?

Todd joined me in the late afternoon to watch the hula dancers. Cherry Blossom hula man woman Denver June 2009Cherry Blossom hula butts Denver June 2009Afterward, we sought out shade at the Larimer and 19th corner of Sakura Square, where a garden memorializes Colorado governor Ralph Carr and Minoru Yasui,Minoru Yasui statue Denver June 2009 who fought for the rights of Japanese during their World War II internment. (There is also a plaza in the latter’s name at 303 West Colfax, across from the Denver Mint.)

Upstairs we browsed photographs of Japanese residents of Colorado, including Tadaatsu Matsudaira, who arrived here in 1886. Had J. J.’s Bistro, also upstairs, offered a patio along with its mostly Chinese menu, we would have dined al fresco, but instead we went downstairs and back into the blazing sun, where the line for shave ice was finally short enough for Todd.

While he was thus occupied, I got these four womenCherry Blossom visitors Denver June 2009 to agree to a picture. They said they got their outfits from Japanese companies, online I assume.

Sadly for Todd, his treat turned out to be crushed ice. He claims shave ice melts differently on the tongue. I was happy to help him finish it, for I am not too particular about the shape of ice. It was a cool ending to my long day in the sun.