CHERRY BLOSSOM: Kaixa, Pinel and Kezian Duguiang with Joanna Aglolo, all of Stoke, at the Cherry Blossom Festival on Sunday. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

Cherry Blossom festival blooms

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Nelson turned it on for the 16th annual Cherry Blossom festival in Miyazu Gardens on Sunday.

Thousands of people streamed into the event to celebrate the city’s 42-year bond with sister-city Miyazu in Japan.

Organisers estimate that more than 3000 people turned up, a record crowd for the event, to enjoy a day full of culture, music, food, and, of course, beautiful spring blossoms under a perfect Spring day.

Crowds were captivated by performances of traditional Japanese martial arts of aikido and kendo.

Master calligrapher Yuta Nishioka showcased his skills in big brush calligraphy.

Akiko Miyamoto and Akiko Crowther brought together other dancers up to perform a traditional dance, Sakura Odori, to welcome in the spring.