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Cherry Blossom 100th Anniversary Gala Ball: Meet the Princesses!

The Gala Princess Ball topped off the evening events for the month-long 100th anniversary celebration of Japan's gift of the cherry trees to the United States. Congratulations to our NJ Princess, Kathryn Rich, a Rowan graduate, and also, this year,to Hawaii's Princess, Rachel Nakayama, who is a senior at Rutgers.

The New Jersey State Society actively participated in selling tickets for two of the April 7-14 state society events:

Tuesday, April 10, "Taste of the States" buffet reception at Fort Myer Officer Club, Fort Myer, VA., 6-8:30 pm which featured heavy appetizers from the states and a cash bar, and honored the princesses for their academic and volunteer achievements, $25 per person. Thank you Ocean Spray for donating the NJ cranberry juice for the Signature Cosmopolitans!

Friday, April 13, 100th Anniversary Grand Ball, at the Renaissance Washington Hotel, 999 9th Street, NW, Wash., DC, 6 pm to 2 am, with dinner, music and dancing, and after party, black tie was optional, $150 per person. Thank you Johnson & Johnson for donating the silent auction basket that helped to underwrite this educational and charitable program.

We would also like to thank our other event sponsors: Panasonic, the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, International Council of Shopping Centers and American Beverage Association.

Learn a little more about our 2012 NJ Princess and the Princess Program:


Kathryn Rich of Morris Plains, NJ, has been selected as the 2012 New Jersey Cherry Blossom Princess by the New Jersey State Society (NJSS). She is a 2011 graduate of Rowan University Glassboro, NJ, and a 2007 graduate of Parsippany Hills High School and is currently employed by Kimmerle Newman Architects of Morristown, NJ.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Japan’s gift of cherry trees to the United States, and some of the original trees still line the banks of the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. From April 7 to April 14, Rich will participate in a wide range of educational, cultural and charitable activities in the Nation’s Capital with cherry blossom princesses from all the other states and many foreign countries.
On Wednesday, April 11, Rich will be introduced at a Congressional reception in the Cannon House Caucus Room attended by Members of Congress and staff. She will also be representing New Jersey in the 100th Anniversary Grand Ball, April 13 and the Cherry Blossom Parade, April 14.

“We are very proud of Kathryn and her record of academic accomplishment and commitment to helping others,” said Donise Cameron, president of NJSS. “The NJ Cherry Blossom princess serves as a role model for young people and we know Kathryn will represent New Jersey with great distinction.”

While in college as a history and international affairs major, Rich volunteered at the Greater Newark Conservancy, as well as Rowan’s annual Clean and Green environmental events and the state finals of the National Geographic Bee. She also spent an “alternate spring break” working on park beautification and rebuilding trails. Interested in international affairs, she studied Arabic in Morocco in 2008.

Princesses are selected for their leadership, academic achievements, and interest in social, community and world affairs. One queen will be chosen from among the princesses by a spin of a wheel at the ball and will travel to Japan for numerous service activities with Japan’s Cherry Blossom queen.

NJSS is a 600-member, Washington DC-based nonprofit founded in 1941 that fosters educational, cultural, charitable and social activities among individuals with ties to New Jersey who work in the government, military and the private sector. It is affiliated with the National Conference of State Societies, which jointly sponsors the princess program along with the Japan Cherry Blossom Association.

For more information on princess activities for the week visit:
For more information on the full festival, visit: CONTACT: Nancy Blades Fatemi , Executive Director, Phone: 202 580 9775 WWW.NJSS.ORG