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33rd annual Cherry Blossom Festival begins next week

The Yoshino cherry trees planted along Parker Road, the site of the original Cherry Blossom Festival, are in bloom, just in time for the 33rd annual Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., March 22 and 23, at the Georgia International Horse Park. (Staff photos: Julie Wells)

The Yoshino cherry trees planted along Parker Road, the site of the original Cherry Blossom Festival, are in bloom, just in time for the 33rd annual Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., March 22 and 23, at the Georgia International Horse Park. (Staff photos: Julie Wells)

CONYERS — Cherry trees are beginning to bloom and winter is just about finished, all signs that it is time once again for the annual Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival.

This year marks the 33rd year of the annual festival that will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 22 and 23 at the Georgia International Horse Park.

The Cherry Blossom Festival is a tradition born in Conyers when it was first held on the grounds of the former Maxell building on Parker Road. The festival grew in popularity and was later moved to the horse park.

“The Cherry Blossom Festival is a spring tradition the city is pleased to continue,” said Jennifer Edwards, director of public relations with the city of Conyers. “Since the festival began 33 years ago, there are now several generations of those that live here in the community and surrounding areas that look forward to and are able to enjoy the festival, its vendors, food and entertainment each year. We’re hoping for pretty, blooming cherry blossoms, nice weather and great crowds to celebrate spring in Conyers.”

This year, as in years past, patrons will be able to shop, play and eat at the contemporary arts festival that will feature 300 artist and crafter booths and a variety of food booths.

A large, interactive children’s area will offer over 30,000 square feet of rides, games and activities, while multiple stages offer entertainment from diverse cultures along with local bands, karate demonstrations, and clogging groups.

Guests can also experience Japanese culture with a variety of dance and karate demonstrations. For example, Kinuyo Shinobu Kai will present traditional forms of Japanese dance, and Japanese Swordsmanship of Gwinnett will demonstrate the art of swordsmanship and martial arts. The festival also offers an array of great Georgia entertainment like The Graham Family, who will perform gospel music.

There will be prizes aplenty this year too. Those who participate in the Positively Pink Scavenger Hunt will have a chance to win a fun festival prize. The first 100 shoppers who visit the Cherry Blossom Festival merchandise booth each day will have the chance to win Blossom Bucks that can be used to purchase items from the arts and crafts exhibitors.

Festival-goers are also encouraged to join the 3rd Annual Pink Out. Guests who wear their pink festival colors and get noticed by a secret judge as one of the best dressed will win a Cherry Blossom Prize Pack.

While the festival begins next weekend, the Cherry Blossom festivities are already underway.

On Saturday, the Heartland Women’s Club will host its annual Cherry Blossom Croquet Tournament and the Kiwanis Club’s Annual Cherry Blossom Golf Tournament is scheduled for Friday, March 21.

The Kimberley Chance Atkins Foundation will close out the season on Saturday, March 29, with the Walk with Angels, an 8-mile walk in Olde Town raising funds for breast health awareness.

Admission to the festival is free with a $5 parking fee per vehicle. For festival information or directions to the Georgia International Horse Park, located just off Interstate 20, call the Conyers Welcome Center at 770-602-2606 or 1-800-CONYERS. Visit the Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival web page at www.conyerscherryblossomfest.com.