Love all things pink? You won’t want to miss seeing New Jersey’s pinkest park, Branch Brook Park, when it delivers some serious eye candy in just a few short weeks when over 4,000 Japanese cherry blossom trees peak – that’s more than Washington D.C.! You can revel in these pink beauties right here at home next month at the 43rd Annual Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival, held at Branch Brook Park, from April 6-14. The festival attracts over 10,000 visitors a day and is packed with family-friendly fun. Read on for festival highlights, including the popular Essex County Family Day and Bloomfest! events – guaranteed to take pink power to next-level heights.
Here’s all you need to know about the Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival:
Essex County Family Day / One-Mile Fun Run
April 13, 11AM-3PM, Run at 10AM
Family Day opens on April 13 with a free one-mile fun run/walk that is more about fun than speed – which makes it perfectly kid-friendly, in our book. Children ages 6 to 14 can enter individually on race day, and all participants are winners in this race – they’ll walk away with a commemorative t-shirt and award at the end. Post-race, enjoy activities, crafts, performances, and even a fishing derby for prizes at the Family Day event, which will be held in the Prudential Concert Grove section of Branch Brook Park. The event features face painting, arts and crafts, paddle-boating, hula hooping, and plenty of food to eat!
April 14, 11AM-5PM
The final day of the festival will conclude with Bloomfest! on April 14 from 11AM to 5PM. The week-long celebrations culminate at the Cherry Blossom Welcome Center and Prudential Concert Grove with a packed schedule of events such as Japanese cultural demonstrations (we’re excited to try kimono-draping), children’s activities, live music, a crafter’s marketplace, festival food and more.
Though Family Day and Bloomfest! are the most popular (kid-friendly) festival highlights, don’t forget about the official NJBA Bike Race challenge on April 6 or the USATF-sanctioned 10K run on April 7 – both are fun for cheering on from the sidelines.
After the festival comes to a close, you and your fam can still enjoy the park’s beautiful pink canopy with guided bus tours. Bus tours are a 45-minute journey and your guide will tell you some little-known facts about Branch Brook Park (spoiler alert: it was designed by the famed landscape architectural firm, a successor to the designer of Central Park). The bus tours leave from the Cherry Blossom Welcome Center located east of Branch Brook Park Drive between Mill Street (Belleville) and Heller Parkway (Newark). Bus tours tickets should be bought in advance.
Heading to Branch Brook Park to see the cherry blossoms? For more event details, please visit the Essex County Park website. Be sure to check out the live webcam of cherry blossoms too!
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