Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates Asian cultures in Irmo

By Natalie Szrajer
Posted 3/22/23

This year’s Cherry Blossom Festival in Irmo is set to be bigger than ever in its sixth year. 

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Subscribe to continue reading. Already a subscriber? Sign in

Get 50% of all subscriptions for a limited time. Subscribe today.

You can cancel anytime.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates Asian cultures in Irmo


This year’s Cherry Blossom Festival in Irmo is set to be bigger than ever in its sixth year. 

Held at the Irmo Town Park, the family-friendly event brings the community together in celebration of the six Yoshino Cherry trees planted at the town park in 2001.

Oddly enough, the cherry blossom trees bloomed early in February due to some unseasonably warm temperatures, according to Kimberly Oakley Case, one of the festival’s organizers. Case encouraged people to see the trees blossoms now because they may not be blossoming on the day of the festival.

The quick blooming and disappearing act of the cherry blossoms serve as a metaphor to life, she said.

“The beauty of the cherry blossom teaches us to enjoy beautiful times when they come,” Case reflected.

There are a variety of artisan vendors, several food vendors and even a Japanese car import show slated for the celebration, with Japan Direct Motors set to be at the March 25 festival from 9 a.m. until noon.

While the cherry blossom trees are native to Japan, the theme for the festival is broader, with many Asian cultures represented. Case and her team wanted to make sure the vendors were consistent with the theme of the festival. So while the food vendors may not be Asian, they will tie in some sort of Asian theme to their food for that day.

Since it’s the lunar year of the rabbit, Case said there will be a local rabbit rescue involved. Bugz Bunny will have bunnies available to pet. 

Other exhibits include the Lexington County Library (with Japanese-themed books), an origami exhibit, Soda City Art cosplay fabricators, and City of Columbia Poet Laureate Jennifer Bartell Boykin will be honored at noon for being the winner of this year’s haiku contest. 

The festival began when one of Case’s colleagues was talking about going to Washington, D.C. to visit the cherry blossoms, she recalled. 

“I told him we have cherry [blossom] trees right here in Irmo and so the festival was born. My other colleague took initiative to organize it,” Case said . 

“People are surprised there are six trees,” Case said, adding the weather variations change when and how long the trees blossom for. “It is so representative of life and the trees have been through a lot this season with wind, rain and cold. They’re hanging on against all odds.”

irmo cherry blossom festival, lexingotn county spring events, columbia park


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here