Media Releases 2014

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival’s Haiku Invitational Contest Returns!

Newsflash! The first cherry blossoms of the year are blooming in Stanley Park and they’re harkening Vancouver’s annual Cherry Blossom Haiku Contest.

(March 10, 2014) Every year, Vancouver’s Haiku Invitational contest receives submissions from all over the world. The contest returns to Vancouver March 1st and will receive haiku submissions until June 2nd. Celebrated Canadian haiku author, Marco Fraticelli, will judge this year’s contest.

The theme of this year’s contest is “Meet your neighbours”. We would like contestants to explain to us, through haiku, the many ways cherry blossoms bring them closer to their family, friends, community and co-workers.

What is a haiku? A haiku is a traditional type of Japanese poetry that consists of 17 syllables in 3 lines of 5-7-5. For example:

What’s new this year? The contest has a new Vancouver category for local competitors. Its other categories are: B.C., Canada, United States, International and Youth.

Winning poems will be celebrated in a number of ways. They will be:
Featured in the Vancouver Courier
Read at Cherry Jam Downtown and Sakura Days Japan Fair by Bard on the Beach Young Shakespearean participants (approx. 14,000 people attend the two events)
Published in the Victoria-based Leaf Press hand bound chapbook
Published online in Ripples (American magazine)
Published in ‘The Bulletin’
Posted on the Festival website
Read by Christopher Gaze at the VSO Tea & Trumpets Concert on March 20th
The 2013 winners are (the contact information of the winners is available to interested media outlets upon request):
Best British Columbia Poem: Julie Emerson, Vancouver, BC
Best Youth Poem:                         Iris Liu, age 12, Vancouver, BC
Best Canada Haiku:                     Marco Fraticelli, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
Best International Haiku:         Leah Ann Sullivan, Nagoya, Japan
Best United States Haiku:         Robert Michael Drouilhet, Picayune, Missippi

More about the judge: Mr. Fraticelli was born in Montreal in 1945 and he has been writing haiku for almost 40 years. For most of that time he has served on the executive of Haiku Canada. Among his books of haiku are ‘Night Coach’ and ‘Voyeur’ (Guernica Editions) and ‘Drifting’ (Catkin Press).

More about the contest: Since 2006, the Invitational has attracted som 6, 000 submissions from 39 countries. Past submissions have arrived from as faraway as Australia, Bangladesh, Croatia, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Malta, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates our urban nature. VCBF is a charitable not-for-profit organization with the objective to sustain and renew Vancouver’s cherry tree heritage, while educating and actively engaging diverse communities in local arts and culture to celebrate the fragile beauty of the iconic cherry blossom.

Linda Poole, VCBF Executive Director     604-767-9044
Terry Ann Carter, Haiku Judge                   250-474-0203


Media Releases 2013



500 Dancers expected for Premiere of World Umbrella Dance at Vancouver Art Gallery April 13
Cherry Blossom Festival Dance Choreographed by Bollywood Superstar Shiamak Davar

VANCOUVER, BC (Mar. 21, 2013) – On Saturday, April 13, 500 dancers will meet at the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza to celebrate the blossoming of Vancouver’s 40,000 cherry trees by performing the 2013 World Umbrella Dance, choreographed by Bollywood superstar Shiamak Davar and accompanied by the drums of the Tetsu Taiko percussion group.

Dancers and cherry blossom fans can learn the World Umbrella Dance in just one hour at one of four remaining rehearsals being led by Shiamak’s Vancouver Performance Team. Participants can view rehearsal dates and sign up for the dance at The site features an instructional video of the dance so participants can practise at home, and everyone who signs up will also receive a limited edition PoP-Art umbrella to use in the dance.

The black, yellow and hot pink was created by artist Anthony Redpath is guaranteed to brighten any rainy day. If you love the umbrella and are not able to participate in the dance you can show your support of the Festival and just purchase the umbrella on the website or from The Urban Tea Merchant and VanDusen Garden Shop.

The World Umbrella Dance moves to the beat of Shiamak’s catchy new release, “Shabop” meaning to dance without worry and celebrate life! This theme is in keeping with the festival’s fragile and fleeting cherry blossoms that remind us all to celebrate life now.

The seventh annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (VCBF) will celebrate the return of spring to the city and the blossoming of Vancouver’s 55 different varieties of cherry trees from April 4 to 30.

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival follows the peak bloom of the cherry blossoms around Vancouver with the Cherry Jam Downtown concert being the first public performance of the World Umbrella Dance. Advance tickets are now on sale for Sakura Days Japan Fair at VanDusen, Plein-Air Blossom Painting is now also open for registration, Tree Talks & Walks, Haiku Invitational, BC Blossom Watch Photo Contest, Bike the Blossoms and the new Sakura Illumination Tour to experience cherry blossoms after dark.


2013 VCBF Haiku invitational contest opens today Cherry Blossom Festival announces 2012 winners

Vancouver, BC (March 7, 2013) – The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival’s (VCBF) 2013 Haiku Invitational opens today with the announcement of the 2012 winners (from Australia, Romania, Ontario, New York and Vancouver) and a wide array of new haiku programming for 2013.

The Invitational invites everyone from around the world to submit up to two poems within 17 syllables regarding the beautiful pink and white cherry blossoms. Winners will be announced in five categories: Best BC, Canada, United States, International and Youth haiku. Since 2006 the Invitational has attracted some 6,000 submissions from 39 countries. The deadline for haiku submissions is June 3, 2013.

The 2012 winners include:

Best BC Haiku: Marianne Baharustani (Vancouver)
Best Youth Haiku: Cristina Ailoaei, 14 (Botosani, Romania)
Best Canada Haiku: Lin Geary (Paris, Ontario)
Best International Haiku: David Terelinck (Pyrmont, Australia)
Best United States Haiku: Michele L. Harvey (Hamilton, New York)

The winning poems (included at the end of this release) are celebrated on the Festival website, onboard TransLink buses during March and April, published in the Haiku Canada newsletter and Ripples. In addition, Christopher Gaze will read them at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Tea & Trumpets Concert on Thursday, April 25 (2pm concert). On the Festival website, another 100 haiku are recognized in the Sakura Award and Honorable Mentions categories.

With the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival banners now flying on the Burrard Bridge and cherry blossoms slowly beginning to come out across the city, it’s time to be inspired by the cherry tree to write your haiku for submission to the Haiku Invitational via the VCBF website.

To quote the famous Japanese haiku poet, Basho, “Many many things they call to mind these cherry blossoms.” The Festival wants to know what comes to your mind when you think about cherry blossoms.

Judging the Invitational will be Haiku Canada President, Terry Ann Carter, an internationally recognized as an accomplished haiku and tanka poet who says she “can hardly wait to read the poems from all corners of the world!” She is author of five poetry collections and four haiku chapbooks and has won awards for her Japanese literary forms.

To learn how to perfect your haiku for submission to the Haiku Invitational, come to Hands on Haiku at Sakura Days Japan Fair at VanDusen Botanical Garden on April 6 & 7. Terry Ann Carter will demonstrate “one of a kind” small book-making on the basic folds for flutter books, accordion books and scroll books. Haiku expert, Michael Dylan Welch will lead a guided haiku walk (Ginko) through the gardens at VanDusen to inspire the writing of haiku.

The Festival and the Vancouver Public Library will also co- present Haiku Workshop with Michael Dylan Welch at the central branch at 6:30 pm on April 22. Participants will learn the myths and realities of haiku poetry in English. Is it really supposed to be 5-7-5? Or is there more to it than that?

Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel Ltd. has made it possible for the festival to present additional haiku programming this year, including an engaging installation by Bing Thom Architects at the Festival kick-off on April 4th inside Burrard SkyTrain Station. Haiku Tracking gives the balloon a chance to tell its story through a haiku when people carry away a helium balloon with them on their personal journey and record the final destination of the haiku on a webpage. Like the haiku, Haiku Tracking captures those fleeting moments in time.

The 2013 VCBF also features:

  • the new World Umbrella Dance, choreographed by Shiamak Davar, the choreographer of TOIFA
  • Tojo’s new SakuraB Bento Box Lunch
  • Sakura Days Japan Fair
  • a Cherry Blossom Ukulele Celebration with 50 ukulele
  • Tree Talks and Walks
  • Cherry Scouting
  • Plein-Air Blossom Painting, and
  • Bike the Blossoms

To plan your picnic under the blossoms with family and friends, visit the Festival’s online Cherry Blossom Viewing Google Map , where you’ll find more than one thousand displays of cherry trees in West Vancouver, Delta, New Westminster, Burnaby, Langley, North Vancouver and Richmond.

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival provides a happy occasion to bring us all together outside in our parks and streets and boulevards lined with cherry trees to enjoy this awe-inspiring event. Cherry blossom viewing has become a springtime tradition in our city now as people marvel as 55 different varieties come into blossom in our city.


Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Announces 2013 Programming (April 4-30)

VANCOUVER, BC (Jan. 21, 2013) – The first cherry blossoms, Autumnalis and Accolade have been sighted in the West End and downtown so the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (VCBF) is dancing to celebrate and will soon go into rehearsal for the large scale public performances of the World Umbrella Dance. Ever dreamed of taking your place in public in an amazing happening with hundreds of other dancers? Your wish can come true and it takes practice!

To become one of the dancers in the World Umbrella Dance during the 2013 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival rehearsals start February 26 at False Creek Community Centre. Shiamak Davar Dance Team lead this pop-up event which takes place at the grand setting of the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza on April 13 and bounces to a Bollywood beat with live taiko drumming by Tetsu Taiko.

The “umbrella” in the dance is a brilliant pop-art black, yellow and hot pink stylized blossom designed by artist Anthony Redpath for the occasion. It’s a rare treat to dance to choreography by ace choreographer Shiamak Davar, who brings the joy of dance to Vancouverites with his new release, “Shabop” ~ to dance without worry and celebrate life.

To hear the lively music and see hip moves from all over the world, check the festival’s website, The umbrellas are there making a splash, too. “Shabop”is a physical dance and as exciting to do as it will be to watch. An instructional video is also there on the website for practise at home. However, even if you are only struck by the umbrella and want to support the Festival, it can be purchased, dance-less, on the website.

The website invites dancers and would be dancers to sign up with rehearsals beginning February 26. Registration includes up to ten rehearsals, some afternoons and some evenings led by Shiamak Davar Dance Team and the keepsake umbrella.

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival happens at multiple locations around Vancouver with Sakura Days Japan Fair, Tree Talks & Walks, Haiku Invitational, BC Blossom Watch Photo Contest and Bike the Blossoms and one of its other events, Plein-Air Blossom Painting, is now also open for registration.