A great way to get acquainted with our Japanese Sister City is to attend the annual spring Cherry Blossom Festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 24 at the Roger T. Sermon Center, Truman and Noland roads, Independence.

In 1983, the Japanese Sister City Commission initiated a one day festival featuring Japanese arts, crafts and food. The Festival is about the shared relationship between Independence and Higashimurayama. The activities and displays assist the public in awareness of Japan, as well as a way to get to know the students who are participating in the exchange program or the Alumni who have participated in the program in the past. It also encourages students in learning about the exchange program.

Experience Japanese culture with:

• Ikebana

• Aikido Martial Arts Demonstration

• Glendale Japanese Club performance

• Japan Club of KC

• Yoki (a new Japanese themed store in KC will have lots of fun items to purchase)

• Japanese Language School

There will also be Japanese bazaar tables, Game Cafe and Design Living, Dr. Honda, Japanese landscaping ideas and the Oriental Cafe. New this year is Sake tasting, $10 per person, starting at 2:30, and authentic Japanese "Bento" boxes for lunch for $8 per person. 

Admission is $2 and all proceeds of the festival go to the exchange student program. For more information, visit www.ci.independence.mo.us/sistercity/Festival.