One of the best things about spring is when the cherry blossoms bloom, but you don’t have to travel to D.C. to bask under a canopy of truly gorgeous flowers. As it turns out, NJ actually has more cherry blossoms than our nation’s capitol! At Branch Brook Park in Essex County, everyone is on “bloom watch,” eagerly awaiting those gorgeous pink flowers. And while the traditional Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival was canceled last year due to COVID it’s back on for this year, taking place April 2-10.
“Anticipated peak bloom of our beloved cherry blossom trees in Essex County Branch Brook Park in Belleville and Newark, NJ will be April 1-5, 2022,” the Essex County Park System posted on their Facebook page. “We will give an update by March 20th with how our trees are coming along!”
If you’re curious to see how the blooms are coming along, you can even check out their live webcam before you head over to the park.
The 360-acre Branch Brook Park has the honor of being the nation’s first county park and is located in the North Ward of Newark, between the neighborhoods of Forest Hill and Roseville. A portion of the park is also located within the Township of Belleville. Here you’ll find over 2,700 Japanese cherry trees just waiting to burst into hues of pink and white bloom. (If that’s not a perfect Instagram backdrop, we don’t know what is!)
The Cherry Blossom Festival has tons of fun events for families. Taking place on April 10, Bloomfest! will feature Japanese cultural demonstrations, children’s activities, live music, a crafter’s marketplace, food and more. The event runs from 11 am – 5 pm and is free.
There’s also the Cherry Blossom Challenge Bike Race on April 2, the Cherry Blossom 10K Run on April 3, a One-Mile Fun Run and Family Day, both on April 9. Spend the day outdoors with your crew among the beautiful blooms. Visitors can do hula hooping, take out paddle boats, construct a craft, get your face painted, or grab food from one of many food vendors.
For those who want to know more, there’s a Cherry Blossom Talk every Wednesday in April where you can learn the history of the Branch Brook Park trees and how they’ve been incorporated into the landscape.