3 events at Vancouver's Cherry Blossom Festival to enjoy as you await the big bloom

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      “One thing that sets us apart from other festivals is that we actively engage people,” Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival founder Linda Poole says by phone. “Initially, we were known as the quietest and most contemplative festival…but to keep everyone’s interest, I keep having to create new things. So we’ve gradually become a little bit noisier, but I still think it all goes back to the cherry blossoms.”

      Inclement weather means that the 2017 edition of the VCBF, which runs until April 23, might be well under way before the first cherry flowers show their pretty pink heads. Here, though, are three ways to whet your anticipation for the big bloom to come:

      Cherry Jam Downtown Concert

      The free Cherry Jam Downtown Concert, at the Burrard SkyTrain concourse Thursday (March 30), offers groups such as Uzume Taiko and Son de Maple in concert, under indoor trees that might be immune to the wet weather outside. Why Son de Maple, which plays the music of western Mexico? The VCBF is not a celebration of Japanese culture, says Poole, but “a celebration of beauty”.

      Haiku Invitational

      Submit your own 17-syllable poem to the Haiku Invitational, a VCBF–sponsored online-publishing initiative. (Enter here.) This year’s theme is freedom, and you might be surprised how much the three-line format allows.

      Tree Talks & Walks

      According to Poole, Vancouver is home to “43,000 cherry trees and 54 different cultivars”, with the most popular being the Kwanzan cherry, a variety first bred in China. Learn more cherry facts via the VCBF’s Tree Talks & Walks, scheduled to take place at various Vancouver parks once the bloom begins. Again, see the VCBF website for dates and times.