Every year since 1935, Washington DC has celebrated the gift of Cherry Blossoms from Japan by holding the National Cherry Blossom Festival. This year, however, is a VERY SPECIAL YEAR marking the 100th anniversary since 3000 beautiful cherry blossoms were planted in the States as a gift and gesture of friendship from Japan in 1912.
With the flowers in full bloom, HappyDoll held a booth last weekend at this five-week event featuring diverse and creative programs promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit.
At the HappyDoll booth, 100 Children were able to design and decorate HappyDolls as a symbol of unwavering friendship between the two cultures. We had "Goodwill Ambassadors", a group of college volunteers who helped us setup the booth and work with the children.
How was the turnout? WAY beyond our expectations! An HOUR and 15 minutes into the event, we were ALL OUT of HappyDolls! Thankfully, for the children who didn't get to make the dolls, there were plenty of other fun booths where they could take pictures in kimonos, make cherry-blossom-patterned photo frames, or make cherry blossom trees out of popcorns. They could even get special centennial commemorative stamps with beautiful cherry blossoms. While the kids enjoyed arts and crafts, the children's chorus, taiko groups, and musicians took over the stage for exciting performances!
The Cherry Blossom HappyDolls are especially significant since they symbolize the "generosity" and "beauty of giving" the two cultures have shared. Just as the American people stood by and showed true friendship to those who suffered in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami last year, HappyDolls made by the kids in DC will travel as a smiling ambassador of hope to the kids in Japan.
These dolls will be delivered to “Muse-no-Yume”, a non-profit organization that provides musical education and support to children with special needs. In return, these children will send back 100 dolls for the children in need in Washington DC, which they created on the anniversary of the Great Earthquake and Tsunami. These dolls will travel to the US after a “HappyDoll Concert” in November in Sendai.
THANK YOU to the National Cherry Blossom Festival for having us, the volunteers for helping us, and most of all, to the children who made the beautiful CHERRY BLOSSOM HAPPYDOLLS!
We can't wait to be a part of the festival next year with MORE HappyDolls!