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 in Washington, D.C.! You can revel in these pink beauties right here at home next month at the 42nd Annual Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival, held at Branch Brook Park, from April 7-15. 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.
Kid-Friendly Events at the Cherry Blossom Festival
Essex County Family Day / One-Mile Fun Run
Family Day opens on April 14 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 final day of the festival will conclude with Bloomfest! on April 15 from 11:00AM to 5:00PM. 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.
More Cherry Blossom Festival activities
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 7 or the USATF-sanctioned 10k run on April 8 – both are fun for cheering on from the sidelines. And if you’re pounding the pavement, don’t forget to look up once in a while and smell the roses blossoms. Finally, after the festival comes to a close, you and your fam can still enjoy the park’s beautiful pink canopy with guided bus tours from April 18 to 21. 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 require advance ticket purchase here.
For more event details, schedule and race registrations, please visit the Essex County Park website.