It’s officially spring in Essex County and the cherry blossom trees in town are showing off. There’s nothing like the snowfall-like cascade of petals to truly signal spring’s arrival. After returning to an in-person event in 2022, the Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival is happening in Branch Brook Park again for 2023. Read on to learn more about the events happening and these pretty pink trees.
The Details + Events
The 47th annual festival will take place at its usual in-person location — Branch Brook Park in Newark. Family-friendly events will run from April 1st to April 16th, making this over two weeks of cherry blossom fun. The festival is also conveniently scheduled for when the trees are forecast to be in peak bloom from April 1st-5th, where there will be over 5,000 cherry blossoms to gaze at, as seen on Patch.
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As for specific events, they are as follows:
April 1st — Cherry Blossom Challenge Bike Race
These races will run from 7AM-1PM, and will be held at Essex County Branch Brook Park, Northern Division Oval, Heller Parkway in Newark. The races are free for the public to watch, while race participants must pre-register.
April 2nd — Cherry Blossom 10K Run
This run is from 10AM-12PM, and will start at the Cherry Blossom Welcome Center at Branch Brook Park in Newark. All run finishers will receive a Cherry Blossom Run medal and t-shirt, and a part of each registration fee will be donated to the Special Olympics of New Jersey. You can sign up here.
April 15th — Essex County One-Mile Fun Run
This event is from 10AM-11AM, and is catered to young students. As the prequel to the Essex County Family Day, the run will go through Branch Brook Park. It is free of charge, and all paperwork and permission slips can be found here.
April 15th — Essex County Family Day
Family day will run from 11AM-3PM at Essex County Branch Brook Park, Concert Grove, Southern Division, Park Street Entrance in Newark. Visitors can explore using paddle boats, construct a craft, get their face painted, grab food from one of many vendors, jump in a bouncy house, climb a rock wall, and watch a BMX bike show at this free-of-charge event.
April 16th — Bloomfest
The final event of the 2023 festival will be held at Essex County Branch Brook Park, Cherry Blossom Welcome Center, Mill Street Entrance, Belleville + Prudential Concert Grove, Clifton Avenue Entrance in Newark from 11AM-5PM. This free family day includes multiple events like Japanese cultural demonstrations, children’s activities, live music, a crafter’s marketplace, food, and more.
Every Wednesday in April — Cherry Blossom Talks
The Cherry Blossom Talks will run through April, and are 30-minute discussions with one of Branch Brook Park’s knowledgeable archivists. Topics include the history of the Branch Brook Park trees, the types of trees that have been used, how the trees have been incorporated into the landscape, and some exploration behind their meaning. These events will be held in the outdoor classroom beside the Cherry Blossom Welcome Center.