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Tie one on at Cherry Blossom Kite and Piñata Festival

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Upwards of 500-700 kites are expected to fill the skies above the Springfield Botanical Gardens on Saturday, April 22.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Springfield Sister Cities Association and Friends of the Garden, in partnership with the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, host the annual Cherry Blossom Kite and Piñata Festival Saturday, April 7, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., at Springfield Botanical Gardens at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, 2400 S. Scenic Ave.

This free family-friendly event highlights Springfield’s relationship with Isesaki, Gunma, Japan and Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico.

Kids and adults are invited to fly kites in the park as well as take part in kite building and decorating, piñata whacking, face painting, chopsticks instruction, origami making and other Japanese and Mexican crafts and games. All activities are free except for kite building — kite kits cost $5.

Performances during the festival feature Japanese storyteller Karin Amano, Uke 66, The Creek Rocks, The Shandies, Marimba Caliente, Mariachi Flor de Missouri, and Kizuna Japan American Friendship Club which will lead interactive Japanese dancing. Performances and activities take place at the Peace Through People Pavilion with kite flying on the Great Lawn.

The festival also celebrates the reopening of Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden, open daily April- October. Admission to this garden, usually $4, is free all day April 7.

Activities are provided by SSCA, FOG, Springfield Regional Arts Council (SRAC), Kickapoo Japan Club, Springfield-Greene County Parks Department, and Parents as Teachers.

The Kite and Piñata Festival is made possible through partnerships between Springfield Sister Cities Association, Friends of the Garden, Springfield Regional Arts Council, Kickapoo Japan Club, Parents as Teachers and the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. Amano’s performance is funded in part by an Arts and Culture Grant administered by Community Foundation of the Ozarks through SRAC.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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