The annual Independence Cherry Blossom Festival raised around $3,000 that will help fund a trip to Japan this summer for 10 area students.

The annual Independence Cherry Blossom Festival raised around $3,000 that will help fund a trip to Japan this summer for 10 area students.

The five-hour festival held Sunday at the Sermon Center was attended by about 400 people, all drawn to the riches of Japanese culture.

“It went well. We were very pleased with turnout,” said Joe Gall, chairman of the Japanese Sister City Commission that puts on the event.

The 10 students, who attend school in Independence, will travel in July to Higashimurayama, Japan. This city is Independence’s sister city.  In late July, students from Higashimurayama will make the 8,647-mile trip to Independence.

The goal of the festival, in addition to raising cash for the American students’ trip, is to celebrate the Japanese culture. Also, the event brings together traveling students and former students who’ve made the trek.

Just a few of the many activities at the festival included a Japanese garden booth, a kimono display, martial arts demonstrations, and decorative hand and face art.

Gall said organizers raised the money by selling a $6 rice and chicken lunch, which was supervised by Japanese native Rosie Smith.

The first year for the festival was in 1983. The event is held every other year.