Every year in April Branch Brook Park, America’s oldest county park, located in the Bloomfield,-Newark area in Essex county New Jersey sponsors their annual cherry blossom festival. The park has approximately 4,300 cherry trees with 5000 more planned for next year with their gorgeous white and pink cherry blossoms in full bloom and attracts people from all over the state and surrounding states. The festival itself includes a 10K run, various vendors selling little trinkets and balloons, various artists selling their wares, concerts by choral groups, park tours, a bike run and some local bands. This year because of the extra long cold weather the festival was held as scheduled, but there were no blossoms until almost two weeks later. It was then that my wife and I decided to go and we couldn’t have picked a better time. It was on a Monday and not a cloud in the sky and a refreshing 70 degrees.
The park itself is several miles wide with roads curving in and out and around so people park everywhere. You can’t get near the place on week-ends as there is so much traffic and every available parking space is taken up so we decided to go during the week. There is a visitors’ center with a big parking lot and a smaller parking lot just outside over the mound next to it. We parked in the smaller one in the outer space and walked in. It was on a Monday and we figured there wouldn’t be many people there, but we forgot that school is out now so a lot of families were there, but not so much as to ruin a perfectly beautiful day.
The blossoms were in full bloom and it felt like you were in a fantasy land. There were skate boarders, people on roller blades, an artist painting a picture of the blossoms, young couples walking hand in hand, people walking their dogs, photographers and every one posing their kids and each other among the blossoms and everyone had a friendly smile or a friendly ‘hello’ for you. It is truly breath taking and we always look forward to the festival every year. Check out some of the pictures we took here and see for yourself.