Anne and Paul also have Alpacas living at English Cherry Tree Manor. Photo / Supplied
Spring is slowly arriving in Waikato, and brings with it the Cherry Blossom Festival at English Cherry Tree Manor in Tamahere.
Organizers Anne Cao and Paul Oulton are opening the doors to their home and garden again, this year for two long weekends.
The couple created the Cherry Blossom Festival in 2017, inspired by trespassers taking photos of the cherry blossom canopy on their driveway.
“Spring is such an uplifting, optimistic time, and nothing captures that spirit more than an exuberant display of cherry blossoms,” Anne says.
The festival is running from September 24 to 26 and October 1 to 3 from 9am until 5pm.
Each weekend has a special theme. The festival’s first weekend theme is the United Nations of New Zealand, and celebrates the many cultures within the country.
The festival’s second weekend stands under the theme Bridgerton Spring Ball, inspired by the Netflix series of the same name set in a fictional Regency-Jane-Austen era.
Visitors are invited to dress up in the theme and have the opportunity to have their photo taken by a professional photographer. If you don’t have any costumes, there are some for hire at the festival.
Each festival day features numerous activities including competitions, entertainment, food stalls and Facebook photo competitions. Visitors can also book tickets to a high tea.
Surrounded by the blossoming flowers, visitors can enjoy the entertainers and different national foods from vendors.
There is also face painting, pony rides, croquet, an arts table, treasure hunt, alpacas, stilt-walkers and human statues for the little ones.
Anne says: “To have whole avenues of cherry blossoms underplanted with carpets of pink primulas or bluebells rekindles your belief that the world is a beautiful place after all.”
For the first time, Paul and Anne advertised the event in Australia. They expect an Australian travel group to attend one of the weekends.
You can book tickets on the festival’s website. Visitors can also book tickets to a high tea in a private tent.
What: Cherry Blossom Festival
When: September 24 to 26, October 1 to 3, from 9am to 5pm
Where: English Cherry Tree Manor, 125 Matangi Rd, Tamahere
Tickets: $29 adult, $15 children at www.blossfest.com/Festival/Booking