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Descanso Gardens Presents Japanese Garden Festival Oct. 15-16

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — The Japanese Garden at Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Dr. in La Cañada Flintridge, will celebrate its milestone 50th anniversary at the annual Japanese Garden Festival on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15-16.

To coincide with this special anniversary, Descanso Gardens’ Sturt Haaga Gallery will display art and artifacts celebrating the history of the Japanese Garden in its “Sharing Culture | Creating Community” exhibition, which runs from Oct. 15 to Jan. 29, 2017.

“The Japanese Garden is one of the most beloved parts of Descanso Gardens,” said Emi Yoshimura, education programs manager at Descanso Gardens. “Celebrating the 50th anniversary of this special place has given us a chance to understand how this garden came to be; the people involved, the cultural context of the time, the continuing importance of these types of spaces.

“We are excited to share some of these stories in our ‘Sharing Culture | Creating Community’ exhibition in the Sturt Haaga Gallery, which opens to the public as part of the Japanese Garden Festival.”

This year’s Japanese Garden Festival will also feature returning favorites the Kishin Daiko drummers, an ikebana flower display by the Sogetsu School, and a walk-through the Japanese Garden led by author and professor of Asian art history Dr. Kendall Brown.

New this year is a Japanese Imperial Court music and dance performance by Kinnara Gagaku. Yoshimura said, “It’s an honor to have this ancient music and dance at our festival, performed by a group that has such an important place in the continuing story of the Japanese American community in Los Angeles.”

Activities are free with admission unless noted. Scheduled activities include:

• Ikebana display, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. View examples of ikebana, the art of flower arranging, from the Sogetsu School.

• Japanese Garden exhibition, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. “Sharing Culture | Creating Community” opens to the public in the Sturt Haaga Gallery. Learn more about the history of the Japanese Garden and the people who created it. Gallery tour, 10 a.m., Saturday only. Take a curator-led walk through the new gallery exhibit.

• Japanese Garden walk, 10 a.m., Sunday only. Dr. Kendall Brown, professor of Asian art history and author of “Quiet Beauty: The Japanese Gardens of North America,” leads a tour of the Japanese Garden.

• Taiko drummers, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. both days. Kishin Daiko will perform heart-pounding feats of percussion.

• Japanese court music and dance, 3 p.m., Saturday only. Kinnara Gagaku performs gagaku and bugaku, the ancient music and dance performed in the Imperial Court of Japan, in religious institutions, and for community activities in Japan and within the Japanese American community.

Sturt Haaga Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Monday, when the gallery is closed. Gallery admission is free with gardens admission: $9 for adults; $6 for seniors and students with a school I.D.; $4 for children 5 to 12; free for age 4 and younger. Information: (818) 949-4200 or

Founded as a public garden in 1953, Descanso Gardens is a member-supported garden accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Join Descanso Gardens and enjoy free admission and early entry year-round. Descanso Gardens is open daily (closed Christmas) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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