By Chelsea Coccia
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Camden County College will be hosting its annual trip to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. this month. The college has been attending the festival for more than eight years.
The Cherry Blossom Festival is a tradition held since 1912 to commemorate the bond between the United States of America and Japan. The gift from Japan consisted of more than 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo. This began the tradition of gift exchange between the two countries for many years to follow.
Numerous events take place over the course of March and April to signify the blooming of the buds, but those that will be taking place during Camden County College’s time there consist of Japanese food tasting, many activities in the American Art Museum, and perhaps the most exciting of all, the National Cherry Blossom Parade. The parade hosts a myriad of elaborate floats, balloons, and talent – this year featuring pop sensation Aaron Carter.
Renee Pollard, the coordinator of the bus trip to Washington, says her favorite part of the trip is, of course, the blossoms. “You can’t always catch them, though,” she says. She says the parade is one of the highlights of the trip as well, and she tries to schedule the trip on the date of the procession each year.
Camden County College students from each campus can attend the festival. A bus will leave from the Camden campus at 7 a.m., the Rohrer Center in Cherry Hill at 7:20 a.m. and the Blackwood campus at 7:40 a.m. on April 12.
Tickets for the bus trip have been on sale since Feb. 11 and will continue to be sold until none is left. The price for Camden County College students, staff and senior citizens (age 65 and older) is $35. For the general public, the price is $45. The trip usually consists of one or two buses filled with participants, Pollard says.
Those who are interested can purchase the tickets from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Office of Student Life and Activities, Community Center, Room 200 on the Blackwood campus, or call 856-227-7200, ext. 4282 for additional information.