2018 Japanese Festival

Last year, I went into great detail about all the things we saw at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Japanese Festival. This year, I’m just going to share pictures…lots of pictures! This continues to be my second-favorite event at the Garden…the Garden Glow will always be my very favorite!

Flora Borealis

The Missouri Botanical Garden has a special summer exhibition again this year, and we had the chance to visit Flora Borealis on Monday night.

I always love having an opportunity to visit the garden in the evening, because it’s a completely different experience. And the way they lit up favorite garden landmarks is totally different from any of the other nighttime events we’ve been to!

Flora Borealis is open for another few weeks, so you still have time to stop by and check it out!

Chinese Culture Days at the Missouri Botanical Garden

On Saturday the weather was beautiful, and festival season has begun in the St. Louis area, so we spent the afternoon at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Chinese Culture Days!

We started at the Cohen Amphitheater, where we saw the “Ethnic Charms of China” demonstration, which included various forms of dance, martial arts performances, and lions and dragons:

We stopped by the Chinese Garden, where we saw a demonstration of a traditional Chinese wedding:

We saw a dragon dance around the Central Axis reflecting pools:

And we saw a Chinese Square Dance, which is VERY different from American square dancing!

The highlight of the day may have been the grand parade, though. We got to see dancers and drummers, lions and dragons, acrobats and martial artists, all in beautiful costumes as they walked by, some performing as they went!

Before we left, we took a walk through the (extremely busy) food court…it looked and smelled delicious!

This was our first visit to Chinese Culture Days, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be our last…it was a lot of fun!

Garden Glow 2017

We didn’t make it to the Member Preview Night of the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Garden Glow this year, but we did finally get our chance to visit it this week. It’s such a beautiful event, and I love how they make little changes from year to year, so there’s always a surprise of some kind. One of the most noticeable differences was the color scheme of the Climatron…this year, it’s lit up in blue and white (instead of the green and white of the previous two years), and it looks gorgeous!

The Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden

When you see the flag of Japan flying at the Missouri Botanical Garden, you know something exciting is happening!

We have been meaning to go to the Japanese Festival for the last few years, but something always got in the way. This year (the 40th anniversary of the Japanese Garden), however, I was determined that we were going to be there, and I am glad we were!

We got to see a cool bonsai demonstration:

And also a cool ikebana, or floral arranging, demonstration:

When we went outside, we found an amezaiku artist. Not just a candy craftsman, he also did magic tricks and oragami…he made Chickadee a frog!

The koinobori (carp windsock) display is apparently a big deal in Japan, and they were everywhere!

The festival processional included an Omikoshi (a portable Shinto shrine), a Bon Odori (summer festival dancing) group, and a Dashi (a portable float with a drum pulled by children from the Japanese language school).

We saw the art of Koma-Mawashi (top spinning). Dr. Tada can turn just about anything into a top!

The opening ceremony was held in the beautiful Japanese Garden, Seiwa-En. While we were there, we heard the taiko drums (my favorite part!) and witnessed the kagamiwari (opening of the sake barrel).

We went to a large-scale calligraphy demonstration (Shodo), by Seiran Chiba in the Garden’s theater:

While we didn’t get a good view of the ice sculpture as it was being made, we did get to see the finished product!

One of the best parts of the day was seeing Luck Eisa and St. Louis Okinawa Eisa perform their beautiful drum and folk dance routines.

And a highlight of those performances was the Shishi-Mai (lion dance)!

We also saw a karate demonstration:

I was amazed by the crowds at the Garden. Everywhere we went, whether at the demonstrations, shopping in the market, or at the food tents, there were masses of people, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as we were!

This is a huge event. I had no idea there would be so many things to see, and yet we didn’t get to see even close to everything! There were also cooking demonstrations, a kimono fashion show, a rakugo performance, gaku music, and a candlelight walk in the Japanese Garden after the sun went down. Hopefully, we’ll get to experience some of those things next year…and we also know to bring more money, so we can try some of the amazing Japanese food that was being prepared in the “food court!”

Garden of Glass

This summer, the Missouri Botanical Garden has a special exhibit in the Climatron…Garden of Glass by Craig Mitchell Smith. The members’ preview night was Saturday, and we were very eager to attend! On the advice of the woman at the membership desk, we made sure our ticketed entry time was after dark, and we were definitely not disappointed!

Most of the glass works are in the Climatron, but there are displays in the Visitors’ Center, above the fountain outside it, in the Linnean House, and near the tram shelter. The pieces in the Climatron are beautifully lit, with the lights frequently changing colors. There are flowers, dragonflies, butterflies…even a phoenix! Some of them look unbelievably lifelike, and it’s hard to tell what in the Climatron is glass and what is actual plants!

You have to stop and really look closely at the flowers to appreciate all the details:

The fountain in front of the Visitors’ Center is lit up in a rainbow of colors:

The Garden is always beautiful, of course, but there is something special about seeing it lit up at night!

Garden of Glass will be on display through August 13. Tickets are available for both day and evening viewing, but from what we saw while we were there, I definitely think it’s best viewed after dark (evening admissions are available Thursdays-Saturdays). Make sure to take your time and really take in the show…way too many people were rushing through it the night we were there, and missing things! Like the Garden Glow, and every other special exhibit we’ve visited at the Garden over the last few years, I highly recommend it…they always put on a great show!

Garden Glow 2016

On Friday, for the second year in a row, we attended the member preview night of the Missouri Botanical Garden “Garden Glow.” Some of it was the same as last year, and a few things were different, which I thought was the perfect combination. There were things we were really looking forward to seeing again (like the “light saber garden” and the tunnel of lights), but we also got to see some new things, too.

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This is an incredibly beautiful and well-organized event, and now that we’ve been to it twice, I’m pretty sure it’s a new family tradition!