CARLSBAD—Tourists wishing to see cherry tree blossoms usually look to Washington D.C. or Japan to catch the blooms during their two week long flowering period.
However, three Japanese visitors came as part of the Carlsbad Sister City Ambassador program to see the cherry trees one of the visitors helped plant in front of City Hall last year.
Daijii Mizota came at the right time and was able to catch the trees during their bloom, according to Vesta Rundle-Ross, director for the Carlsbad Sister City Ambassadors.
She said they were planted to honor friendship between Carlsbad and Futtsu, Japan which is one of Carlsbad’s two sister cities.
Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic is the other sister city.
On March 29, a reception was held to honor the Japanese visitors, and six Carlsbad High School students who were chosen to go to the Czech Republic in July.
The students were chosen after an interview process and will attend an International Film Festival. They’ll stay with host families.
Accommodations with local families, transportation to and from Prague, tours and admission to the film festival were included as prizes.
In 2013, Karlovy Vary Mayor Petr Kulhanek visited Carlsbad. He ran in the Carlsbad 5000 and suggested the student exchange program.
Karlovy Vary has been a sister city since 1990.
Karlsbad is the German name of Karlovy Vary, which is renowned as a spa city because of its mineral water.
When Carlsbad was discovered to have similar natural mineral springs, it was named after the Czech town.
The six students chosen to go to Karlovy Vary are Adrianna Adame, Madeline Doze, Stephenie Jones, Thomas Peterschmidt, Adrianna Ricci and Erin Traber.
Rundle-Ross aims to create lasting relationships between sister countries.
“The goal is to establish friendship between countries and foster exchanges of visitors, business, economic and cultural and art exchanges,” Rundle-Ross said.
Six local artists from the Carlsbad Oceanside Art League, or Coal, were also honored at the reception.
Five works from each artist were chosen by Julie Weaverling of Carlsbad’s Front Porch Gallery to be sent to Karlovy Vary for an August exhibition.
Artists from Karlovy Vary will send over artwork to be exhibited at the Georgina Cole Library in June 2016.
The Japanese visitors have spent time at Legoland and have toured local schools, beaches and the police department.
“There’s so many things to do, they can hardly get it all done,” Rundle-Ross said.
The Carlsbad Sister City Ambassadors has been a non-profit since 2010. The funding comes from membership fees, and ticket sales to fundraisers.
Rundle-Ross quoted the Sister Cities International mission statement when talking about the objective of the Ambassadors program.
“The goal is to think globally and act locally,” Rundle-Ross said.