Best Festival (2002)

Hatsume Fair at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Built on the site of a long-defunct Japanese agricultural colony, this now-25-year-old tribute to Japanese culture continues to thrive in its unlikely South Florida locale. Perhaps the best expression of its Japanophilia are the numerous festivals it hosts, honoring the important holidays of Nihon. Of these, the Hatsume Fair, which celebrates the first bud of spring, is our favorite, what with its vendor and artisan booths, fair food both Asian and American, and three stages of entertainment. This year, the performances included a tea ceremony, martial-arts demonstrations, and, of course, the devastating rumble of the taiko drummers. The best part: All of this takes place in late February, under the cooling canopy of the towering pine trees on Morikami's beautiful grounds.


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