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Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival event cancelled due to coronavirus concerns

Sakura Days has been cancelled but other events still going ahead
Sakura Days
Sakura Days, the Japanese fair that was slated to take place April 18-19 in Vancouver as part of the city's Cherry Blossom Festival, has opted to cancel this year's event due to the coronavirus. Photo courtesy Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

One of the biggest events tied to Vancouver's popular Cherry Blossom Festival, Sakura Days, has been called off due to escalating concerns about the threat of COVID-19.

Scheduled to take place on the weekend of April 18 and 19, Sakura Days brings together hundreds of people annually to enjoy Japanese cultural performances, a marketplace, food, and more.

Sakura Days is hosted by the Japan Fair Association of Vancouver (JFAV), and the event is run by a team of volunteers. The JFAV announced Monday that they have "come to the difficult decision to cancel this year’s event," after "careful consideration and thorough review of current circumstances."

Takashi Tsukamoto, the chair of the JFAV, indicated in a statement that their event, which relies on money from ticket sales and volunteer participation, is already feeling the effects of coronavirus. Rather than take a significant loss by going ahead, the JFAV has opted to bow out now, in order to minimize losses and retain sure footing to proceed with their event in 2021. 

"We acknowledge that the risk for COVID-19 is low and that there is high enthusiasm for our event from all participants and stakeholders," explains Tsukamoto.

"This decision is to ensure the long-term sustainability of this annual event; to continue to provide the best experience for our performers, vendors, volunteers and attendees; and to maintain the financial and operational viability of our event."

Currently it appears other programming for the festival, including the popular Big Picnic event, remain on track to take place. 

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