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Tree Peony Festival Takes Place In Spite of The Rain

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The Rain didn't stop the Johnson City Rotary Club from holding their first annual Tree Peony Festival. The festival took place, from 11 am to 5 pm, at Jennison Park where local artists debuted their watercolor paintings, hand-blown glass, woodworkings, caricatures and more. Throughout the day various forms of entertainment could be seen, including Irish dancers, bagpipes, jazz musicians, guitarists and other local musicians. 

"Weather is what it is, we have no control over it, but that doesn't mean that you cant come out and spend ten or fifteen minutes with us and just enjoy both the different craft vendors that are here. Take a look and buy a tree peony if you want. We've got water available here. Come down and visit us, listen to the music. there are plenty of people here hard at work. It's just a nice casual thing, stop by" says Rocky Martinez, President of the Johnson City Rotary Club

Twenty-four tree peonies were planted last year. Richard Matsushima and a friend of his, imported over 2,100 tree peonies last year. Matsushima has said that he has had many people in the area ask about the flower ever since he started planting them.

 "We'd like to keep doing this, importing the tree peonies from Japan and make Johnson City the capital of tree peonies in America, that is my dream" says Richard Matsushima, Former Rotary District Governor

 Martinez and Matsushima hope that more people in the community will find an interest in and appreciate the large blossom.

"The goal is that we continue to grow them and, hopefully, in the not too distant future you'll see them everywhere in Johnson City" says Martinez

Tree peonies are available at the festival for Twenty Dollars a piece or you can reach out to the Johnson City Rotary and order from one of the five colors. For every one that is sold, one is donated to a different area in Johnson City. As a result of the festival, The Rotary Club also plans to donate money to provide scholarships to students in the arts departments at Johnson City High school.