The Birmingham Public Library (BPL), the Birmingham Botanical Gardens (BBG) and the Birmingham Museum of Art (BMA) will partner with the Japan America Society of Alabama (JASA) for the Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Festival .
The Sakura Festival is a one-day event on Saturday, March 22nd from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. In the weeks leading up to the Festival, BPL is offering several literary programs as shown below.
• Sunday February 23 to Friday March 14. Twitter Haiku Contest for Alabama residents sponsored by BPL and the Southeast Chapter of the Haiku Society of America (HSA). We will have two divisions: one for youth aged 13-17 and another for adults (18 and up). There will be a winner from each division for the week of February 23, the week of March 2, and the week of March 10; these winners will receive books as prizes. These 6 poets will be the top winners of the entire contest, and HSA judges would then decide who are first place, second, and third. The winners’ rankings will be announced at the Sakura Festival main event at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Saturday, March 22, and they will receive cash prizes: $50, $30, and $20. The two first place winners in each division will also receive a one-year membership to the Haiku Society of America.
• Friday, March 7, 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Bards, Brews, & Haiku, Central Library, Fiction Department. Featuring haiku readings and sake tasting in addition to the usual performance poetry and beer sampling. Japanese crafts for sale to raise funds for Miss Iwate, the Japanese friendship doll who has called BPL home since 1928. Miss Iwate is in need of some restoration work which will be done by master dollmakers in Japan.
• Saturday, March 8, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Haiku Workshop. Central Library, Storycastle. Led by Terri French, the Southeast Chapter Coordinator for the of the Haiku Society of America (HSA). Registration required; call 2015-226-3670.
Other Festival events are as follows:
* Sunday, March 2, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Doll Festival (Hinamatsuri), Central Library, First Floor. featuring a display of hina dolls and Miss Iwate, the Japanese friendship doll who has called BPL home since 1928. We’ll have a tea party, and children (and adults) will be encouraged to bring their favorite dolls be they American Girl dolls, Barbies/Kens, Transformers action figures, GI Joes… The Birmingham chapter of the Urasenke School of Tea will perform a tea ceremony. We’ll have other beverages and light snacks. We will also make origami.
* Saturday, March 15th, 10:00 a.m. Sushi-Making Class in Birmingham Botanical Gardens Education classrooms.
* Saturday, March 22, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Japanese Garden. This will be the main event of the Sakura Festival and will feature a variety of activities. BPL will have a booth, and hands-on sessions on making Japanese paper dolls will be offered.
* Saturday, March 22nd, 3:15 p.m. Japanese anime movie showing in the Administration Building, Birmingham Botanical Gardens.