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This Saturday and Sunday, April 30 and May 1, kimono sleeves will swirl and koto strings will be plucked at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s 24th annual "Sakura Matsuri," the annual Japanese art and culture extravaganza - featuring 60 special events - to celebrate the blooming of the garden’s 220 cherry trees.

(Visitors can get a preview on the botanic garden’s Web site

The events include musical and dance performances - ranging from classical to contemporary; demonstrations; workshops; exhibits and guided tours.

The performances will again be emceed by the charismatic Yoshi Amao, host of the Outdoor Life Network’s TV show "Samurai Sportsman."

A few highlights that are new to this year’s edition of the festival are performances by vocalist-pianist-composer Akiko Yano (who has collaborated with Peter Gabriel, The Chieftains, and others) and the Jennifer Muller/The Works modern dance company.

The Lightbox Gallery returns to "Sakura Matsuri" with an exhibit of works by three new artists in "From Nature to Abstraction: Contemporary Views from Japanese Artists," on view in the Steinhardt Conservatory Gallery.

As in past years, there will again be demonstrations of the "Flower Hat Dance (Hanagasa Odori Parade)"; flower arranging or "ikebana"; a tea ceremony; samurai swordsmanship; and bonsai tree pruning and care.

"Sakura Matsuri" events will take place rain or shine at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (900 Washington Ave. at Eastern Parkway in Prospect Heights) from 10 am to 5:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday. All activities are free with garden admission: $5 adults, $3 seniors and students with ID, free for children under age 16. For a detailed schedule of events, call the hotline at (718) 623-7333 or visit the Web site.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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