VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - COVID-19 is forcing changes to events around the world. News 3 got a special look at the Cherry Blossom Festival that's back on this year with some changes.
“I think it’s amazing. It’s beautiful. Makes us want to go to Japan,” said Louis Perrin.
Perrin just moved to Virginia Beach from Massachusetts and loved looking at the cherry blossom trees at Red Wing Park in Virginia Beach Wednesday afternoon.
Diane Howard loves tress and said looking at the cherry blossoms is a breathtaking experience.
City officials say the Cherry Blossom Festival, which celebrates the rich culture and beauty of Japanese music, martial arts and activities, is happening at Red Wing Park.
“The reason we have a Cherry Blossom Festival is because of our sister city Miyazaki, Japan, so that’s why this festival was started,” said Katie Webb, the Cherry Blossom Festival Coordinator and Recreation Specialist for the City of Virginia Beach.
She said 100 trees were first donated back when the program started in 2005, and 50 were donated the following year.
“I think it’s really cool how they designed it, how you can walk down the path in between the two trees,” said Perrin. “It’s relaxing; it’s calming.”
Webb said the trees blossomed on Sunday, and the beautiful flowers will usually stay around for about 10 days, weather permitting.
Last year, COVID-19 forced the event to get canceled, but in years prior the day-long festival would attract thousands. This year, it’s back on - with some changes.
“It’s definitely caused us to think differently and think outside the box, but I actually think we’ve come up with some really cool ideas that we will plan to continue even post-pandemic,” said Webb.
There are virtual events, a haiku contest, activities are spread out and the event is now happening over a two-week period.
Click here for more information about the Cherry Blossom Festival.