Spring has sprung in Northern New Jersey. This winter was a rough one, so it's no surprise that North Jerseyans came in droves to Newark's Branch Brook Park for this year's Bloomfest.
Last year's announcement of the addition of 1,000 cherry blossom trees brought the total park count to 5,000. Yes, Newark has Washington, D.C. beat; there are approximately only 3,750 trees on display at the Tidal Basin.
Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart
The south end of Branch Brook Park offers stunning views of the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart: the fifth-largest cathedral in the United States.
It all began in 1927...
A bit of history: In 1895, Branch Brook Park was the first county park opened for public use in the U.S. In 1927, Caroline Bamberger Fuld (sister of Louis Bamberger, the founder of now-defunct Bamberber's department store in Newark) donated 2,000 Japanese cherry blossom trees, starting the vast collection that stands today. Now at a sprawling 360-acres with 4,000+ cherry blossom trees, Branch Brook Park attracts over 10,000 visitors each April.
Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, with Flowers
Another view of the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
14 Shades of Pink
There are currently 14 varieties of cherry blossoms in Branch Brook Park, so whip out those cameras and try to snap them all.
"You Are Here"
A helpful sign at the center of the event illustrating the vendors, restrooms, and clusters of trees. Also vital: the schedule for live music, cultural demonstrations, activities, and more.
Bounce House Mania
Pretty sure Branch Brook Park outdid your childhood backyard birthday party. Four bounce houses to choose from? Wow.
No Soup For You
The food trucks were out in full effect. Longest line? The Original Soupman.
Red Velvet Funnel Cake, Fried Oreos, and Fancy Lemonade
Red velvet funnel cake? Yes, please.
Cobu Taiko Drum & Dance Troupe
The crowd was entranced by this performance from the Cobu Taiko Drum & Dance Troupe.
Cherry Blossom Archway
One of the cherry blossom trees forms a natural archway over the path.
Cell Phone Tour
Bonus: self-guided cell phone tours. Visitors can dial 973-433-9047, enter the code for the location of the park found on the sign, and hear historical and horticultural information.