The Monterey Park Cherry Blossom Festival took place on the weekend of April 20 - 21, 2012 at Barnes Park in Monterey Park, CA. The Monterey Park area has historically had a contingency of Asian Americans. Typically, the largest cherry blossom festival is held in Little Tokyo. However, because of the economy and lack of funding, the Monterey Park Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the few community sakura matsuri festivals in Southern California. Pacific Media Expo invited the Scarlet Rhapsody conventioneers to help out at this community event.
Pacific Media Expo sponsored the anime and Tokyo Street Fashion component of the festival. Tables were set up to sell cosplay goods, anime, manga, and lolita accessories. Andrea was present for the first day. She assisted the Pacific Media Expo crew in set up. You can hear Andrea's perspective on the festival on the Zero Hour podcast.
The team was present on Sunday the 21st. The weather was your typical Southern California spring day. It was nice sunny and breezy weather, but still has a bit of that SoCal heat. The festival was not as crowded as the Los Angeles or San Francisco festivals. It had a medium attendance. Pacific Media Expo invited our team to help out. Andrea was helping with set up. Jared emceed the cosplay show. I helped Ginger (Chocolate Covered Cosplay) judge the cosplay show.
The event drew a few local area otaku. We had about 15 sign ups for the cosplay contest. There were already other cosplay and other local events happening the same weekend: Cosplay Prom, random Little Tokyo gathering, and LA Times Festival of Books. It was nice to see cosplayers come out to this event. Most cosplayers were from the new generation; younger early 20-somethings made up the general attendence.
The cosplay contest took place at 3PM. Here is video that we took of the contest:
After the contest, the Tomo Neko Maid Cafe performed a skit to promote their upcoming event. Ginger and I announced the winners. The winners of the show are as followed:
First Place: Skull Kid from Ledgend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Second Place: Boku X Inu Secret Service
Third Place: Prince Hibiya from Durarara!
Audience Favorite: Final Fantasy Moustache Group
Most Animated: Pokemon Trainer and Skitty
In addition to the gymnasium having the indoor stage, there were also several exhibits including a doll gallery, flower arrangements, and a pictorial history of Japanese internment. The festival had plenty of activities to offer. Kids can enjoy various festival related games and crafts. Our friend, Becky, was able to find some dresses at discounted prices.
Of course, it would not be a Japanese spring festival without the food. Plenty of organizations came out to fundraise. You can grab sushi for $5 per box and odango for $5 for a set of six. However, I was hoping to see more food vendors. It caught me off guard when I saw a typical hot dog stand. I can understand a few booths selling Chinese cuisine and Thai iced tea, but American food is the last thing I would expect. Though we had a limited selection compared to other sakura matsuri, there was hardly a long wait to grab a meal and things were decently priced.
Overall, it was a pretty pleasant event. I am very happy to enjoy community events like these and on behalf of the team, we are always happy to support the Asian American Community. It is sad that the Los Angeles Cherry Blossom Festival is no longer what it used to be, but Southern California is fortunate to have the Monterey Park Cherry Blossom Festival. I highly recommend this event if you enjoy Japanese culture and wish to continue supporting free cultural events. Many thanks to Pacific Media Expo for inviting us to be a part of something grand.
Pictures are copyright by Scarlet Rhapsody . Feel free to use any photos of you, just link us back. If you want us to remove something, kindly email us. While you're here, do sign the guestbook. This site was brought to you by the font Maize MF.