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A Blossomless Cherry Blossom Festival?

WILKES-BARRE — Now that spring is here, it can mean only one thing for the Wyoming Valley: time for the Cherry Blossom Festival in Wilkes-Barre’s Kirby Park. But there’s a bit of a controversy this year about where the cherry blossoms are.

The sun is out, and vendors are setting up at Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre.

“I’ve been a vendor here for over 30 years. Cherry blossom festival first started on the river common right next to the courthouse, moved to public square, and then we moved it to Kirby Park,” said vendor Tony Thomas.

But something’s missing just a day before the Cherry Blossom Festival: all those pink and white petals.

“I know, I saw them on the other side of the river, and I guess maybe it’s over for the petals,” said vendor George Webby.

Some of the trees haven’t blossomed yet and there are many opinions about why.

“I see the leaves are green so maybe it’s time to move right into spring and summer,” said Webby.

“Well I think they’ll be coming out probably Saturday and Sunday. They’ll be popping,” said Thomas.

“Maybe they’ll be out by tomorrow. You never know.”

Here’s what we do know. The cherry trees are red. There are no petals on the ground. But the other trees in the park have already gone green, and cherry blossoms have bloomed on the other side of the river on Public Square.

With or without blossoms, vendors like Tony Thomas still hope to help kick off the spring and summer season with good food, rides, and entertainment all weekend. People like Jen Lincoln still plan on coming no matter what color the trees are.

“As long as there’s sunshine, I don’t think anybody’s really going to notice that,” said Lincoln, of Kingston.

So where does Jen stand on the cherry blossom debate?

“I am not sure. I’m going to plead the fifth on this one,” said Lincoln.

Guess you’ll just have to check out the festival between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday to find out.


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