Cherry blossoms are blooming, spring has sprung and Parks Pop-Ups have officially popped up in Philadelphia.
FCM Hospitality’s popular rotating beer gardens are back for the 2022 season, and now through April 10 (though closed Monday and Tuesday), Philadelphians can post up outside of the Fairmount Horticulture Center Arboretum (at 100 N. Horticultural Drive) to enjoy some treats. While there, patrons can enjoy fresh food, local beers on tap, specialty themed cocktails and more, set in an outdoor environment with comfortable chairs and a beautiful atmosphere.
As a release states, this edition of Parks Pop-Ups will be the perfect addition to the Japanese American Society of Greater Philadelphia’s “The Sakura Concert Series of the Shofuso Cherry Blossom Festival of Philadelphia” occurring April 8 to 10, which will feature a weekend-long, non-ticketed, open to the public concert series exploring the intersections of Japanese and African American culture through three days of musical performances by multi-ethnic Hip Hop, Jazz, and Percussion musicians.
The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia is a private nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that promotes arts, business, and cultural exchange between the United States and Japan in the Greater Philadelphia region and they also work with the Shofuso House, a traditional Japanese house and garden in West Fairmount Park. The backdrop of this all also serves a purpose: Cherry Trees have long been a symbol of friendship between Philadelphia and Japan since 1,600 cherry trees were gifted from Japan to Philadelphia in 1926 to commemorate the American Sesquicentennial. In 1933, Japanese residents of the Philadelphia region then gifted an additional 500 cherry trees and planted them alongside John B. Kelly Drive.
While at the Parks Pop Up, FCM will present a full menu of food and drink favorites — plus new selections that contain a nod to the celebrated Cherry Blossoms.
Snacks include a warm soft pretzel with spicy maple mustard; burrata cheese with pesto, prosciutto and sesame crackers; and hummus with an assortment of accouterments. There will also be a variety of salads (think arugula and sobu noodle); sandwiches (think pulled pork, a veggie wrap, hot roast beef and more); plus kid’s hot dogs and jumbo chocolate chip cookies for purchase.
Drinks on the other hand include an array of cocktails, including the Hibiscus Lemonade (made with vodka, hibiscus and fresh lemonade,) and
the Hanami Punch (made with tequila, soju, St. Germain, green tea and lemon juice.) There will also be a selection of craft beers, canned beers, wine and non-alcoholic options as well.
The Parks Pop-Up will be a part of the larger attraction of the 2022 return of in-person Cherry Blossom programming at the Horticulture Center in West Fairmount Park, a release states. On Saturday, April 9, the cherry trees will also be illuminated starting at 7:30 p.m. The light-up event—called Yozakura in Japanese (literally meaning “night cherry blossom”)—will feature a video art set by OLUWAFEMI, an artist and performer who redesigned the festival’s brochure, and who also happens to be Shofuso’s Artist in Residence through June 2022.
A full schedule of events can be found online.
“While Japanese culture remains at the heart of our Cherry Blossom Festival, this year’s program has significantly expanded to include a number of West Philadelphia based artists and musicians from the predominantly African American neighborhood of Parkside, where Shofuso is located,” said Rob Buscher, Associate Director of Organizational Culture, who is also leading the Re-imagining Recovery project efforts, in a statement.
The Park Pop-Up hours are Wednesday, April 6 and Thursday, April 7 from 4 to 9 p.m.; Friday, April 8 from 4 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, April 9 from noon to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, April 10 from noon to 8 p.m. Admission is free, but the beer garden portion of the Cherry Blossom Festival and viewing is 21+. Children, families, and anyone under 21 are welcome to participate if they are accompanied by a legal guardian who has legal identification. Well-behaved dogs are welcome and must always be on a leash, and food and drink are pay-as-you-go. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.