HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Cherry Blossom Festival has celebrated the Japanese heritage for nearly six decades. The queen and court take part in cultural events statewide. Now, the search is on for new contestants. The current queen, Marissa Machida, is here to tell us all about it.
Cherry Blossom Festival
50% Japanese ancestry
U.S. citizen, Hawaii resident
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**Application deadline extended until August 16, 2010**
The Cherry Blossom Festival announced today that the application deadline has been extended until August 16, 2010. Celebrating its 59th year, the Cherry Blossom Festival is seeking bright young women who cherish culture, education and community service. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the longest, continually running festival in the State of Hawai'i, which celebrates Japanese culture and heritage. Queen contestant applications are available online at www.cbfhawaii.com.
The 58th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen and Court were selected at Festival Ball held in March 2009 at Hawai'i Theatre. Fourteen contestants performed an original taiko composition choreographed by taiko artist – Kenny Endo, delivered a 1-minute prepared speech on a topic of her choice, and demonstrated poise and grace while answering an impromptu question dressed in traditional furisode silk kimonos flown in from Japan.
Months of cultural classes, public appearances and professional development training ensure that each contestant was ready for Festival Ball. "Great care is taken to ensure that every contestant is prepared. It is amazing to witness each contestant's individual transformation over the seven-month process," said 59th Cherry Blossom Festival General Chair Darren Ota. "What a contestant may learn from the Cherry Blossom Festival will stay with her forever, and can be applied to all aspects of her personal life and professional career."
"If you're interested in trying something new" said Queen and Miss Popularity Marissa Machida, law clerk, "then the Cherry Blossom Festival has something to offer you." Machida reflected on the history of the Festival and the 58 years of tradition that she and the contestants are now a part of. She suggests that young Japanese-American woman apply, stressing that no other experience can replicate what the Cherry Blossom Festival can provide.
Applicants must have at least 50 percent Japanese ancestry, be between the ages of 19 and 26 years old, single, a U.S. citizen and Hawai'i resident. A completed registration form, proof of Japanese ancestry through a birth certificate and a $30 application fee is required. Visit the website for a complete list of eligibility requirements.
About the Cherry Blossom Festival
The Cherry Blossom Festival holds the honor of being one of the longest, continually running ethnic festival in the State of Hawai'i – originally started in 1953 by the founding fathers of the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce. The Cherry Blossom Festival was created to celebrate Japanese culture and to enrich the lives of young Japanese-American women. The Festival also has an international reach, partnering each year to host five special sister chapters from Japan: Kobe, Odawara, Kurashiki, Kojima and Tamashima. Over the past 59 years the Cherry Blossom Festival has touched the lives of many, especially the 986 women it has called contestants.
About the Honolulu Junior Japanese Chamber of Commerce