With warming temperatures, members of the New Haven community gathered Sunday afternoon at New Haven’s Historic Wooster Square to celebrate the coming of spring and blooming cherry blossoms.
Organized by the Historic Wooster Square Association, the Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the first 72 Yoshino Japanese cherry blossom trees planted in New Haven in 1973. The event brought together local nonprofits, small businesses, New Haven families and Yale students for a time of lively music, food and beautiful scenery.
Wooster Square was divided into two sections this year for the festival. The south end held the “Children and Family’s Area,” which featured the Eli Whitney Museum, the Peabody on the Road Program and the Elm Shakespeare Company. Meanwhile, the north end had a “Pet’s Area” with booths for a dog daycare center and businesses such as “Best Buddy Biscuits,” who sell dog biscuits.
The event featured live performances from groups such as the swing dancing group Tuxedo Junction and St. Luke’s Steel Band, as well as a family-oriented puppet show from Nappy’s Puppets. Aside from the entertainment, Wooster Square Cherry Blossom Festival co-chair Charlie Murphy noted the large amount of behind the scenes planning that goes into the event, including setting up the Wooster Square area and inviting local business and “an awful lot” of nonprofits to be featured.
“We’re really happy that [the nonprofits] get the exposure to a crowd like this like they do,” said Murphy, who organized the event along with Peter Webster.
According to Murphy, this year’s event was markedly different from last year’s in the number of nonprofits, businesses and organizations that participated in the Children and Family’s Area of the festival. He added that the association is happy about seeing the festival grow and cater to the families of New Haven.
Nonprofits and local businesses were interspersed throughout the park at various booths, most of them familiar to the Cherry Blossom Festival. One of the representatives of a nonprofit group, “The Busty Brawlers,” an organization that promotes breast cancer awareness, noted that her organization has participated in the festival the past three years. While she said that the price to have a booth at the festival was affordable for nonprofits, she said she personally loved coming back to the festival because of its culture and the scenery.
“At Wooster Square, we’re not tightly packed together,” the representative from Busty Brawlers said. “People are sitting down on the grass. And it’s wonderful because everyone’s busy dancing and having fun and you can get the therapy that you need.”
A number of Yale students were seen enjoying the spring weather and taking part in the festivities among the New Haven locals. Andrew Ruys de Perez ’19, for example, came to the festival along with his friends, and said he was glad to see so many people out in Wooster Square.
According to Murphy, the Wooster Square Cherry Blossom Festival was ultimately such an enjoyable and successful event because it brought together many different people from the New Haven community.
“[We’re able] to celebrate the neighborhood and share it because it really is beautiful,” Murphy said.