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Celebrate the arrival of spring and Japanese culture at Franklin Park Conservatory

The Lantern
JASCO and Franklin Park Conservatory Partner are hosting the Haru Matsuri (Spring Festival), a celebration of spring and Japanese culture. | Credit: Courtesy of the Japan-America Society of Central Ohio (JASCO)

The Japan-America Society of Central Ohio will host the Haru Matsuri (Spring Festival) in partnership with the Franklin Park Conservatory Sunday — celebrating Japanese culture, cherry blossoms and the arrival of spring.

The festival, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., offers a variety of activities — such as traditional Japanese crafts that use traditional Japanese paper called washi and calligraphy. General admission is free for Franklin County residents, but identification is required, according to the festival’s website. Ohio State students can also purchase discounted tickets at the Ohio Union Information Center. More information about D-Tix tickets is available on its website.

Benjamin Pachter, executive director of JASCO, said the organization is excited to bring this celebration of Japanese culture to the Franklin Park Conservatory and hopes the community and students will join in on the festivities.

“JASCO’s mission is to promote better relationships between Japan and the U.S. through a grassroots community,” Pachter said.

JASCO is a nonprofit organization founded in 1997 at Ohio State with the goal of bringing the Japanese and American communities together in Ohio, Pachter said. The organization has since been committed to serving the diverse needs of Japanese residents in Ohio and Ohioans with a vested interest in Japan, he said.

“The needs of Japanese immigrants in Ohio and immigrants, in general, are constantly changing. We also need to change our approach to meet those needs,” Patcher said. “It’s a simple mission with a very complicated way of enacting it.”

One of the event’s highlights is the Kimono Photo Booth, available from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1-3 p.m. This special booth will offer participants the opportunity to dress up in traditional Japanese kimonos and take photos in front of a backdrop.

In addition to the activities, the event will feature various performances. The Dublin Taiko Group will showcase its Taiko drumming skills at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Columbus Koto Ensemble will perform Koto music at noon, and there will be a Kendo martial arts demonstration at 1 p.m. and a Kami-shibai paper puppet show at noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Attendees can try refreshments from The Garden Café as well as Japanese food from Red Rabbit Ramen truck and Mochi Donuts, according to the website.

Haru Matsuri is one of the events that exemplify JASCO’s mission, Piper Harrell, a program intern of JASCO, said.

“Haru Matsuri brings so many people together to admire cherry blossoms and enjoy Japanese culture,” Harrell, a third-year student double majoring in Japanese and International Studies, said.

The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is located at 1777 E. Broad St., More information about the event can be accessed by visiting the website.

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