Since 1968, the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Program has been dedicated to mentoring young women through community service, leadership, and cultural education. Every April, a new court is selected to represent the Japanese American community for a year as cultural ambassadors. On Queen Program Night, candidates showcase their speech, interview, and creative expression, as judges select them to represent the community. This tradition has become one of the main events during the annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival.
Over the course of a year, the court will volunteer with local community events and organizations, building a foundation for life-long involvement in the community. They will travel to our long standing connections in Los Angeles and Hawai’i. The Queen will also have the opportunity to travel to Japan. Through public speaking, networking, and community service, the court will develop professional and leadership skills. Japanese American culture and history education is also an essential part of this program. For many, this will be the only opportunity in their lifetime to wear a traditional furisode kimono.
After their year is over, many court members continue to serve the Japanese American community. Many continue to volunteer as members of Cherry Blossom Alumnae, one of our continued Corporate Sponsors.
The Queen Program is under Sakura Matsuri Inc, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.