Hundreds came out to enjoy a gorgeous day at the first-ever Margate Cherry Blossom Festival.

MARGATE – It’s time to bask in the warmth of the sun, escape winter hibernation, don your funkiest tie-dye T-shirts and welcome the rebirth of spring.

The Margate Business Association, in conjunction with the Margate Community Church, Margate Mothers Association, Sustainable Downbeach and Margate Recreation, will celebrate the arrival of spring with their 2nd annual Cherry Blossom Festival presented by The Pet Salon 12-4 p.m. Sunday, April 14 on Ventnor Avenue between Sumner and Union avenues in the Parkway section.

For decades, the scores of cherry blossom trees that align the Memorial Parkway in Margate have been a symbol of seasonal renewal and hope for sunnier days ahead, as their delicate pink and white blooms burst onto the scene and say goodbye to winter.

The free, family friendly event will feature children’s games and activities, live music by Dead Reckoning, tasty treats, wine and beer, arts and crafts, and more. A “Grooviest Dog” contest will take place on the stage at 2 p.m., and a host of environmental exhibitors will be on display directly in front of the Margate Community Church.

Tai chi instructor Gerri Medoff opens the festival with her low-impact demonstrations, which are free for all participants eager to understand its meditative and health benefits. On the grassy grounds of the Margate Community Church, the Margate Recreation Department will host children’s activities ranging from egg and spoon races to potato sack and three-legged races.   There will also be Tossinten boards set up for play and practice as they reimagine the traditional cornhole experience. The church will also feature a petting zoo, fun games and a children’s craft booth to keep the little ones active. A Kids Helping Kids Fight Cancer craft sale booth will have birdhouses, painted flowerpots with pansies and picture frames. All proceeds go to a local pediatric cancer organization.

Miss New Jersey Victoria Mozitis will also make an appearance to celebrate the coming of spring. The Grateful Dead tribute band Dead Reckoning returns to the Cherry Blossom stage from 12-4 p.m. to perform an inspired set of Dead favorites, with their recognizable harmonies and Bob Weir-esque fueled vocals and guitar effects. Food trucks, concessionaires, and Wawa will be on site with a wide variety of treats to satisfy all types of appetites. There will also be a choice of beers, ready to drink beverages, Mr. Finger’s Alibi Gin, selections from Sunrise Wine and Tequila Bar, and award-winning Banfi wines to sample and/or purchase.  In the spirit of the Cherry Blossom Festival, Banfi is also partnering their leading organic wine brand, Natura, with the environmental organization 1% For The Planet to help increase regenerative organic acreage throughout the U.S. and improve the health of the world’s soil; sales of Natura will directly benefit the environment.

Margate Mothers welcome spring with cherry blossom paintings created by their little budding artists. Children can celebrate the spring breeze by making their own cherry blossom windsock and let their imaginations drift in a secured area to play with chalk. Ribbon streamers will be available for purchase to help support future Margate Mother’s Association events.

A limited amount of tie-dye bandanas will be given out to the groovy early birds. The Pet Salon will also feature tie-dye wearable bandanas and the top ‘grooviest’ dog will win 50% off of their signature grooming. Alisa Dirato will use her exquisite talents for face painting.

Sustainable Downbeach has assembled a wonderful collection of organizations featuring Margate students’ Growing in the Garden State-NJ Fresh project, the SJ Surfrider Foundation, ACUA, NJDEP AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassador, Earth First Native Plant Nursery, the Margate Terrapin Turtle Rescue Project, the Jacques Cousteau Estuary Research Reserve, Marine Mammal Stranding Center, Mary Lenahan and her butterflies and Busy Bees will all discuss the importance of protecting our wildlife, vegetation, marine life, oceans and beaches. Renewal by Anderson windows will be on hand with their latest product line just in time for spring.

“This event offers a great opportunity for the various environmental organizations to show off their displays and share their knowledge about the shore environment in a fun and engaging way,” said Steve Jasiecki, who chairs Sustainable Downbeach.

Everyone is encouraged to bring chairs or blankets to spend the afternoon enjoying the fresh air and relaxing with friends and neighbors.

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Categories: Margate

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.