MSU Tollgate Farm welcomes community to 2023 Hanami Spring Picnic on Saturday, May 13

Graphic by MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center

NOVI, MICH. — Michigan State University Extension’s Tollgate Farm and Education Center in Novi welcomes community members on Saturday, May 13, 2023, to join for a day filled with beautiful music, delicious food options, and a family-friendly atmosphere during the Hanami Spring Picnic in the cherry blossom Sakura GardenSakura is the Japanese term for cherry blossom trees and their flowers, while hanami refers to the long-standing Japanese tradition of welcoming spring in a picnic-style gathering underneath the sakura. 

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the event will begin with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, followed by Japanese storytelling and a series of Japanese dance and musical performances. Admission is $10 per person, with children under 4 years of age able to attend for free. Advance tickets are recommended and non-refundable. Please click here to register for the event

The event schedule is as follows:

  • Traditional Tea Ceremony at 11 a.m.
  • Japanese Storytelling at Noon
  • Godaiko Drummers with Tanoshii Taiko Tai at 12:45 p.m.
  • Sakura Japanese Instrumental Group at 1:45 p.m.
  • Bon Odori Dance at 2:15 p.m.

Lantern making will be available throughout the entire event, with origami making available from noon to 2 p.m. Food items, specialty beverages and concession will be available for sale, including a Japanese Shiga green tea tasting. The event is outdoors, so visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic blanket or chair; in the event of inclement weather, the activities may be moved indoors. 

While the Michigan spring weather may cause the cherry blossom garden to bloom prior to, or following the event, the picnic and planned activities will serve as an incredible opportunity for the greater-Novi community and beyond to come together for learning and celebration of the new season, along with appreciation for Japanese culture.

MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center is located at 28115 Meadowbrook Road in Novi, with parking accessible from Meadowbrook Road via 12 Mile. 

The Hanami Spring Picnic is in partnership with the Japanese Society of Detroit Women’s Club, Sakura Performance Group, the Great Lakes Taiko Center, Novi Public Library, Michigan-Shiga Sister State Program, Street Side Café serving Asian-inspired food, and Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea. 

The Sakura Garden at MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center was dedicated on September 7, 2018, made possible by generous founding donors that include Daifuku North America Holding Company; Deloitte and Touche LLP; Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas, Inc.; KIP America; L. Brooks Patterson; NGK Sparkplugs, Inc.; NHK International; Nissan Technical Center, North America; the State of Michigan via the Michigan Economic Development Corporation; Toyoda Americas Corporation; Toyoda Gosei North America Corporation; Toyota Boshoku America; Toyota Industries Electric Systems North America; Toyota Tsusho America, Inc. The pavilion in the Sakura Garden was designed by Matthew MacDougall. 

Source: MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center

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