An azalea bonsai. Photo courtesy of Pacific Bonsai Museum

An azalea bonsai. Photo courtesy of Pacific Bonsai Museum

Bonsai Fest! returns to Federal Way May 11-12

A two-day celebration over World Bonsai Day and Mother’s Day weekend.

Pacific Bonsai Museum hosts its second annual Bonsai Fest!: its biggest public event on its most crowd-drawing weekend of the year May 11-12.

This year, Bonsai Fest! features the Puget Sound Bonsai Association’s (PBSA) annual spring show; opening day for two, Pacific Bonsai Museum special exhibits; bonsai-making classes and demonstrations; gifts for plant-loving moms; plus festive food and beverages, pop-up shops, entertainment, and art activities for all ages.

World Bonsai Day is commemorated by bonsai fans worldwide on the second Saturday of May as a gesture of international friendship, cooperation and peace. May is also typically peak-bloom month at the Museum, making it the best time to see azaleas and other flowering bonsai in the museum’s collection.

Bonsai Fest! runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 11 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 12 (Mother’s Day) at The Pacific Bonsai Museum, which is located on the campus of the former Weyerhaeuser headquarters at 2515 S. 336th St., Federal Way.

Free parking is available across from the museum at the west/garden parking lot; handicapped parking is available at the museum entrance.

Admission to Bonsai Fest! is free; there is a $10 suggested donation for those who are able to support the museum.

Bonsai Fest! activities include:

PBSA Annual Spring Show

In the pavilion all weekend

PSBA club members display dozens of their best bonsai and vie for Best in Show. Club members will demonstrate how they make bonsai and will answer general questions about their artworks and practices.

Special exhibit: ‘Living Art of Bonsai: Principles of Design’

Main display area through Sept. 29

This exhibit picks up where the museum’s 2018 exhibit, “Elements of Design,” left off. One-by-one, the exhibit breaks down design elements and principles used by bonsai artists to make extraordinary works of art. A curated subset of the museum’s collection demonstrates each design element and principle and shows how these are found in trees and in other works of art. As visitors explore the exhibit, they will gain a deeper appreciation for and understanding of bonsai and unlock the keys to designing stunning works of living art.

Special exhibit: ‘Gnarly: The Dan Robinson Retrospective’

Pinwheel display area, through Sept. 29

Gnarly honors a lifetime of work by local, international legend Dan Robinson, proprietor of Elandan Gardens, Gorst, Washington. As Robinson turns 80 years old, Pacific Bonsai Museum looks back on his still-flourishing career as an American bonsai renegade who pioneered unorthodox techniques and champions the gnarly, twisted forms of aged trees in nature. From his days with the “Bonsai Bums” — who helped establish the Pacific Northwest bonsai scene — to the groundbreaking of his unique local attraction, Elandan Gardens, see a slice of Robinson’s world displayed in installations of bonsai, rock, and wood representing each decade of his career.

KusaMama Kits

on sale all weekend/demonstrations on May 12 (Mother’s Day)

For Mother’s Day, the museum is offering kits to make “KusaMama” — Kusamono for moms. Kusamono (translated as “grass thing”) are small, informal, potted compositions displayed alone or as an accent planting in bonsai presentations. DYI-KusaMama-kits will be on sale and experts will demonstrate how to make these beautiful gifts.

Wine and Beer Garden

May 11 and May 12, 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Chill out in a special beer, wine and picnicking space.

Food trucks

May 11, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Sirius Wood Fired Pizza’s truck will be serving something for everyone. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options available.

Bliss Small Batch Creamery will be scooping their delicious locally-made ice cream.

The public can call the museum with any questions in advance at 253-353-7345 or email

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