But you wouldn't know it across South Florida; instead, the best local harbinger of the warmer weather to come here in Palm Beach County is the annual Hatsume Fair at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach.
This year marks the 37th year Morikami will celebrate its popular spring festival, taking place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17. As the museum’s largest annual event, the two-day fair will transform the Morikami park grounds into a mini-Japan where you can explore the country's food, drink, and culture.
The Hatsume Fair will feature three stages of continuous entertainment, dozens of artisan, craft and plant vendors, and — most importantly — a Japanese food market featuring a large variety of specialty sake and beer.
The weekend-long activities also include martial arts, bonsai and Japanese flower arranging demonstrations, taiko drumming performances; as well as games, crafts, and activities for children. That means an anime character meet ‘n’ greet with a character-inspired costume contest and fashion show.
New this year, New York City-based Samurai Sword Soul will demonstrate traditional Japanese sword fighting and allow festivalgoers to join in during its famous fighting boot camp. In this event sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, visitors will also be able to experience an all-new visual and sensory experience created by Japanese dancer Satomi Hirano and koto performer Yoshiko Carlton all weekend.
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens has been a center for Japanese arts and culture in South Florida since its opening in 1977. The historic park offers guests a chance to explore six diverse gardens inspired by a different historical period and style of Japanese gardening as well as traditional and contemporary Japanese culture via exhibits, educational programs, a bonsai display, and restaurant/market featuring pan-Asian cuisine and sake.
Single-day passes to the 37th-annual Hatsume Fair cost $15 per person ($10 for children ages 4 to 10). Discounted tickets and two-day passes are offered exclusively online at morikami.org. Entry is free for museum members and children age 3 and younger.
The Hatsume Fair will take place on Saturday, April 16, and Sunday, April 17, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Morikami Museum, located at 4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach. Call 561-495-0233, or visit morikami.org.