By Renita Bennett
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – Camden County College is sponsoring a trip to Washington, D.C. on April 9 for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.

This festival began with a simple ceremony on March 27, 1912, when First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two trees from Japan on the north bank of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. In 1915, the United States government reciprocated with a gift of flowering dogwood trees to the people of Japan.

A group of American school children reenacted the initial planting and other activities, effectively holding the first “festival” in 1927. The festival grew again in 1935, sponsored by civic groups in the nation’s capital. In 1981, the cycle of giving came full circle. The festival runs from March 26 to April 10 this year.

Camden County College is providing buses for all who want to attend. The festival includes food, music, dancing and official festival merchandise.

Renee Pollard, secretary of Student Activities at Camden County College, attended last year and gave a little insight on what is to be expected this year. She says the main thing to look forward to at the festival is seeing the blossoms in full bloom because there is no guarantee they will be. The blossoms bloom at different times during the year so getting to see them in all their beauty is one thing that is not to be missed. She also says it’s a big event and always sells out quickly.

Brendan Connor, a 19-year-old Camden County College student, says he is looking forward to surprising his girlfriend with this trip. He says her favorite flowers are cherry blossoms so he cannot wait to see the look on her face when she sees them.

More than a million people visit Washington, D.C. each year to admire the blossoming cherry trees. The gift and annual celebration honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries.

For more information on ticket prices, please contact the Camden County College Student Life and Activities Office at the Blackwood campus at (856) 227-7200, ext. 4282.

A trip to the Cherry Blossom Festival is among the activities planned for Camden County College students. By Renita Bennett, CCC Journalism Program

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