SHILLONG, Nov 08: Cherry Blossoms or no cherry blossoms, the first day of the cherry blossom festival was dip in rich colours of merriment that reflected more as evening descended on Wards Lake with the merry makers engrossed in local wine tasting, relishing the rich menu of the North East amid a perfect setting and enjoying the sight of the cherry blossoms in bloom but only on the projector.
The dimly lit lanterns gave a picturesque look to the lake thereby turning it into a selfie-paradise. It was food, wine, fashion show, magic show, selfie parade and repeated telecast of a finely shot cherry blossoms promo in a projector.
North East cuisine was a delight as people visiting the festival savoured the delicacies with a gulp of rice beer, locally brewed wine and other local drinks.
One of the attractions was the local magician John Lanong who left the crowd in awe with his magic shows. The stall was never empty as people kept asking for more.
Sipping off the local wine, at a neatly placed round table amid the dimly lit lanterns, Anuska Gohain from Assam said, “I love the feel. It is so beautiful. It is my first time here and I am loving it.”
Gohain however said the only dampener to the festival was the missing cherry blossoms.
Yet another tourist from Assam, Anup Deka said, “The cherry blossoms are sprouting and I hope I will get to see and enjoy what I am here for before the festival ends.”
The timing of the festival has attracted a lot of criticism from visiting tourists and locals alike. While some blame the state government for the mix up, others like J Adhikari from Mumbai who travelled all the way to witness the spectacle said, “We are already here in Shillong and it is disappointing to see that there are no cherry blossoms blooming in sight.”
“We heard about it and were really excited to witness and be a part of it,” said Adhikari an ardent nature lover.
Amid diminishing hopes and goof ups, the cherry blossoms in some parts of the city have started to bloom and it is hoped that the festival won’t be disappointing after all.