Pink flowers, blue hair

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Famous for its beautiful display of cherry blossoms, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Sakura Matsuri is now a popular gathering for costumed anime fans.

A veritable army of cosplayers, manga fans, and anime nerds will amass at this year’s floral festival, making dressing up just as much a part of the fun as admiring the collection of Japanese flowering cherries.

“It absolutely has taken on a life of its own,” said Garden spokeswoman Kate Blumm, who added that the event has gone from featuring purely traditional events like tea ceremonies to welcoming nerds of modern Japanese culture for the past five or six years.

The result is lots and lots of frilly costumes — and plenty of people making the “V” sign with their fingers.

“[Many people] spend months and months painstakingly making a particular outfit for this festival,” Blumm said. “It really has become one of the places for this subculture to see and be seen.”

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has, in fact, embraced this — it’s even producing a cosplay fashion show, with music provided by an anime-inspired rock band.

But even traditionalists will feel at home among the cherry blossoms, Blumm said.

“The focus hasn’t changed,” she said. “It’s just expanded.”

“Sakura Matsuri” at Brooklyn Botanic Garden [150 Eastern Pkwy., 990 Washington Ave., or 455 Flatbush Ave. entrances in Prospect Park, (718) 623–7200,]. April. 27 and 28, 10 am–6 pm, $20, $15 seniors and students, free for kids under 12.

Updated 10:10 pm, July 9, 2018
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