Shillong: The third edition of India International Cherry Blossom Festival opened to packed crowds in the picturesque hill town of Shillong on Wednesday. Inaugurated by Meghalaya CM Conrad K Sangma, the opening ceremony of the festival also witnessed several other dignitaries including Kenji Hiramatsu, ambassador of Japan to India, and Professor Dinabandhoo Sahoo, the brain behind the fest, among other senior officials.
The four-day festival is being organised by the state department of forests and environment and the Institute of Bio resources & Sustainable Development (IBSD) in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
The festival kick-started with a cultural show showcasing the local instruments and dances of the region. Spectators were spell-bound by the beats of the ‘Ksing’, a traditional Khasi drum. This was followed by a dance performance by local girls dressed in pink ‘jainsems’, symbolic of the pink cherry blossom flowers.
The venue ground had a range of food stalls selling food items to suit every palate. Bike enthusiasts flocked to the area where Harley Davidson and Royal Enfield motorcycles were displayed. These bikes would be used in the ‘Stuntz Bykerz Display’ scheduled on Thursday.
However, a dog show featuring the K-9 dog squad of Meghalaya Police stole the show. The adorable canines with their trainers displayed their talent and agility with tricks and stunts that took everyone by surprise.
The other events of the day included storytelling, drawing and painting competition, as well as a fashion show. The day, however, ended on a cute note with ‘the Cutie Kids contest’.