Sakura Matsuri, Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Cherry blossoms at Sakura Matsuri

Hello all! On April 25th I attended the 34th annual Sakura Matsuri festival held at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It was a great day to enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms, cultural festivities, and cosplay! There were so many people in attendance celebrating the arrival of spring in the beautiful gardens.

Being a new attendee to the event, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was excited to see there were a few cosplay related panels and shows. There was a lovely panel held by cosplayers Charles Battersby, Aleta Pardalis, Ann Milana, and Mink-the-Satyr that covered topics such as repurposing old materials for cosplay and beginner draping techniques.

cosplay panel

Panelists Mink-the-Satyr, Ann Milana, Aleta Pardalis, and Charles Battersby

Part of the fun of the festival is dressing up. One didn’t have to venture far to find a photoshoot underway, whether it was an organized shoot or attendees taking quick photos of other costumed patrons. There were lolitas, people in gorgeous traditional spring yukata, and many cosplayers to be seen, props and all! I snagged pictures of some of my favorites.

Aleta Pardalis

Aleta Pardalis as Morgan LeFey from Arthurian legend, original design

Bluucircles cosplay and Firewolf826

Bluucircles cosplay and Firewolf826, cosplaying as Nagisa Hazuki and Rei Ryuugazaki from “Free”

Mary Alice sweet lolita

Mary Alice wearing the sweet lolita style

Jennifer Perez as Sailor Pluto

Jennifer Perez as Sailor Pluto from Sailor Moon

There was even group cosplay! Gotta love those colorful Eeveelutions!

Eeveelutions group

Brooklyn Link as Sylveon, Avalyn Ava as Flareon, Close-ish Cosplay as Wes, Lady Kaylee as Eevee

My favorite part of the festival was an exhibit featuring ikebana and kimekomi. Ikebana is the art of flower arranging, utilizing not only flowers but also stems and leaves. There were many examples of this subtle, beautiful art on display.

Perhaps lesser known to Western audiences is the art of kimekomi. Kimekomi is a specific type of doll making in Japan. The base of the doll is traditionally made of wood, which is coated in glue and covered with bits of fabric. The edges of the fabric are tucked away neatly into little grooves in the mold. The heads and hands of the doll can then be painted and decorated with additional ornaments. Dolls range from the traditional style clad in kimono to zodiac animals. The tiger pictured below was one of my favorites.

zodiac animal kimekomi

Tiger kimekomi

The doll making demonstration by NYC-based Carmen Maria Acosta brought back memories of watching my mother make these dolls during our time in Japan. Ms. Acosta even offers classes on this technique here in the city, I learned.

doll making

Kimekomi doll making demonstration by Carmen Maria Acosta

Thanks for a great event, Sakura Matsuri!


Editor’s note: Effy is a New York cosplayer and fashion design student who will be contributing to the Cosplayer blog as well as our Instagram account. She does amazing, detailed work and we’re thrilled to have her on board. Find her on Instagram @effysewscosplay and on Facebook.

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