Volunteer for Cherry Blossom Festival 2018!


Participate in the prettiest festival of the year.

Delve behind-the-scenes at San Diego's one and only Cherry Blossom Festival on March 9th, 10th and 11th! This festival celebrates the traditional Japanese custom of hanami –appreciating the beauty of our seasonal cherry blossoms. Between serving beer and tea, making arts and crafts in the kids area, manning our gift shop and more, there's a volunteer position for everyone. After your shift, browse our merchandise and food vendors, enjoy cultural performances, and wander through our cherry blossom grove for the perfect spring experience. Reserve your volunteer position today!


Thank you so much for choosing to volunteer at Cherry Blossom Festival! The staff at the JFG are thrilled to work with fresh and seasoned volunteers alike to make this exciting event a reality. We hope you enjoy your experience with us.

Cherry Blossom Festival is a three-day festival that occupies the entirety of the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park and encompasses merchandise and food vendors and cultural performances, as well as playing host to the garden's blooming cherry blossom trees. Approximately 12,000 guests are expected to attend over the course of all three days. Visit our Cherry Blossom Festival webpage for more information.

We have 12+ volunteer types for this festival and plan to recruit over 150 volunteers each day for smooth operations. Some stations are slower in pacing, others are intense and fast-paced - there's a spot for every kind of volunteer!


The Japanese Friendship Garden is located in Balboa Park at 2215 Pan American Rd E. The parking map below shows the southeastern corner of Balboa Park at the intersection of Park Blvd and President's Way, which is the Balboa Park entrance closest to the Japanese Friendship Garden. If you're taking the 163 South or 5 South to get the JFG, you will enter the park through this route.

Parking and Entrance Map 2018.jpg

The only other entrance to Balboa Park is on the west side over the Cabrillo Bridge (street name El Prado), which can be accessed via the 6th Avenue exit from the 5 North. This street will become Pan American Rd E, which connects to west end of President's Way (on the corner of the Air and Space Museum Lot).

Parking will be more limited than usual on the second and third days of the festival. The Thursday Club will be hosting their annual Rummage Sale on Saturday, March 10th from 9 am - 4 pm and Sunday, March 11th from 10 am - 2 pm. It's the biggest thrift, estate and garage sale in San Diego, so be sure to give yourself some extra time to find a parking spot if you're volunteering on either of those days.

Like our other festivals, we'd recommend carpooling or getting dropped off via Uber or friends/parents, especially if you're volunteering for the afternoon shift.

If you're parked a little farther away from the JFG than you'd care to walk, the Balboa Park Tram drops visitors off at strategic points throughout the park, including a stop right across the street from the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, which is very close to the JFG entrance. View the Balboa Park Tram website and map here.

Finding the JFG itself - and specifically the Back Gate we're requesting volunteers to enter through - can be tricky since our entrance is not very prominent. We're located right next to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, which is a big white outdoor stage with Roman columns. You can navigate to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion with walking directions on Google Maps.


Approaching from the front of the Organ Pavilion: If you can see the Organ Pavilion stage from the front, the JFG entrance should be to your left. Do NOT try to enter through our main entrance; instead, follow the black fencing all the way to the end. You'll be able to see a cluster of white canopies in our upper garden plaza, as well as a sign saying "Volunteer Check-In"; that's how you'll know you're in the right place!

Approaching from behind the Organ Pavilion: If you're behind the Organ Pavilion in the Organ Pavilion Parking Lot, walk towards the Pavilion until you find the Fire Lane. Walk along the Fire Lane and you will run into our back gate at the end of the lane. Again, white canopies in our upper garden plaza and a sign saying "Volunteer Check-In" should be your cue that you've arrived at the proper gate.




The schedule table above is applicable to all three days of the festival (March 9th, 10th and 11th). Please check your specific shift information at the JFG Signup.com link. You will receive an automated reminder two days prior to your shift that will include the position name, date and time. We ask that all volunteers are flexible in moving from position to position depending on volunteer needs. Volunteers are permitted to sign up for only one shift per day, even if they plan to arrive early or stay past the end of their shift.


All volunteers are required to sign a liability waiver AND a volunteer conduct agreement upon arrival. IF YOU ARE UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE, A PARENT/GUARDIAN MUST SIGN THE WAIVER AND AGREEMENT DOCUMENTS AS WELL. You may find blank copies of the liability waiver and volunteer conduct agreement at this link here. Please download and bring hard copies of BOTH DOCUMENTS on the day of your shift.


If you need to cancel your shift, notify Sara Shah at volunteer@niwa.org as soon as possible, as well as removing yourself from your position on Signup.com. Please try to commit to your shift as much as possible. We understand that emergencies and last-minute cancellations are inevitable, but this event relies heavily on its volunteers. No volunteers, no Cherry Blossom Festival!


The JFG is happy to work with small or large volunteer groups. Groups are not guaranteed to work together at the same booth. Please email Sara Shah at volunteer@niwa.org for sign-up instructions.


  • Each volunteer will have a 30-minute lunch break. Hot food, snacks and water will be available.
  • Volunteers are permitted to explore the festival during their lunch break, but will still be held accountable for returning within 30 minutes. If you want to enjoy the festival at your leisure, please plan to return for the following day and enter through volunteer check-in (with the exception of Sunday evening volunteers).
  • Volunteers who require letters or signatures for community service hours must sign in and out to receive credit. Otherwise, we cannot verify that you completed your hours.
  • Dress appropriately! Most stations are shaded but you may be out and about in the sun occasionally and on your feet most of the day. Wear comfortable, close-toed shoes.
  • Personal belongings may be stored in the volunteer check-in and rest area, but the JFG is not responsible for theft.

If you have any questions or need special accommodations, feel free to contact the volunteer coordinator Sara Shah at volunteer@niwa.org. Thank you so much for choosing to volunteer with the JFG - see you all in March!