SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — San Francisco is celebrating it’s 55 annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival in the city’s Japantown Saturday afternoon.

The festival will span between two weekends. The first festival will begin on Saturday April 9 and end on Sunday April 10.

The second set of festivities will begin Saturday April 16 and end Sunday April 17. Admission is free to everyone.

Events begin at 11 a.m. on Saturdays and 12:30 on Sundays. All festival days will end at 6 p.m. All events will be held in the town center and mall complex.

The event serves as a representation between the alliance between Japan and the United States. The celebration has been going on since 1968.

Town officials say it is the “most prominent celebrations of Asian traditions and the largest Cherry Blossom Festival on the West coast.”

San Francisco’s Japantown remains one of the three left in the United States. San Francisco’s is both the largest and the oldest.

The 2022 festival theme this year is called ‘Sakaeru’. According to the Cherry Blossom Festival’s website, ‘Sakaeru’ means to come back and flourish as a community and festival.

The official poster displays a pink frog with a tagline saying ‘springing forward’. Frog in Japanese is ‘kaeru’, which symbolizes everyone springing into the new year – as a frog springs forward to move.

The phrase ‘Sakaeru’ can also be seen as combination of the words kaeru (frog) and sakura (cherry blossom). The pink amphibian is named ‘Gogo’ which translates to ‘five-five’ in Japanese. The double digits represent the 55 annual celebration of the event.

Some of the events being held are:

  • Calligraphy
  • Tea ceremonies
  • Sake ceremonies
  • Anime cosplay showcase
  • Origami exhibit

You can sign up for the festival as a volunteer or sponsor. Residents can also RSVP for the event here. The schedule can be found on the festival’s website.

All schedules are subjected to change.