Festival of cherry blossom
In celebration of spring, the Waikato Cherry Tree Festival will welcome thousands of visitors this Friday, Saturday and Sunday to experience the beauty of the cherry trees in full bloom.
Stilt walkers, human statues, Japanese wai-taiko drummers, kapa haka, kung fu displays and a Chinese dragon are some of the performers that will add to an entertaining family day out at Tamahere’s English Cherry Tree Manor.
The artists and performers at the festival will represent the many cultures of New Zealand, and local artisan food producers will provide a variety of refreshments throughout the day.
The festival is held at the private residence of NZ Pure Tour managing directors Paul Oulton and Anne Cao.
With so many people stopping to take photos of the cherry trees in bloom each year, the couple created the festival to open up their property for everyone to enjoy.
The trees lining the 125m driveway were all planted by Paul and are the showstoppers in the garden he has lovingly created over the last 23 years.
Hamilton Mayor Andrew King will officially open the festival at 11am on Saturday, with the symbolic planting of a cherry tree to mark the occasion.
Also among the confirmed guest attending the festival are Labour MP Jamie Strange and National MP Tim Van de Molen.
The Waikato Cherry Tree Festival is in its second year. It was an overwhelming success last year, with around 2000 people attending.
Many more are expected this year so the hours have been extended to allow a quieter day on the Friday for those wanting to take photos and enjoy the garden, as well as night lighting under the cherry trees over the three days.
■ English Cherry Tree Manor is at 125 Matangi Road, Tamahere. The festival is open 8am-8pm, September 21-23. Check under events at en.nzpuretour.com for details.