The National Cherry Blossom Festival opened over the weekend, and it couldn’t have been planned any better.
Blossoms around the National Mall in Washington, D.C., hit peak bloom on Monday, making a spectacular entrance for visitors to the annual event.
“PEAK BLOOM! PEAK BLOOM! PEAK BLOOM! PEAK BLOOM! PEAK BLOOM! PEAK BLOOM! PEAK BLOOM! PEAK BLOOM! PEAK BLOOM! PEAK BLOOM!,” the National Parks Service posted on its Twitter account.
That makes this week the prime time to visit Washington.
“The Yoshino trees typically bloom for a period from several days up to more than a week,” the NPS said. “Some rain is forecast for this week, but as long as it remains light, the fresh blossoms should hold on to look amazing through the weekend.”
The National Cherry Blossom Festival has become an annual tradition for visitors to the East Coast and a sign that spring has arrived.
“The blooming of the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., has come to symbolize the natural beauty of our nation’s capital city,” the NPS said. “The famous trees, a gift of Japan in 1912, signal Washington’s beginning of spring with an explosion of life and color that surrounds the Tidal Basin in a sea of pale pink and white blossoms.”
Festival Up And Running
The National Cherry Blossom Festival runs until April 17 and is filled with activities.
“The National Cherry Blossom Festival, like springtime and the cherry trees themselves, symbolizes hope, renewal, and new beginnings,” said Diana Mayhew, CEO of the festival. “The trees, a gesture of goodwill from Tokyo to Washington, D.C., now, more than ever, serve as a reminder of the importance of unifying communities and sharing in the celebration of peace and international friendship.”
Those who can’t make it to D.C. can view the blossoms via webcam on the festival website.
Some of the planned events have already taken place, but there are plenty of others scheduled for the run of the festival.
Blossom Kite Festival
On Saturday, March 26, kites will take over the Washington Monument grounds with kite performances, kite making, and kite flying events for all ages. Area residents will be encouraged to fly kites in their own community parks that day if they can’t make it to the festival.
On Saturday, April 9, a parade will take place on Constitution Avenue with entertainment, floats, and other cultural performances featuring Taylor Dane, Tag Team, and Freddie Jackson.
Tidal Basin Welcome Area
During peak bloom, the National Park Service will have food trucks, a beverage tent, and information booths from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Entertainment and cultural events will take place throughout the day.
The festival is encouraging residents from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia to join in the celebration with spring and blossom-themed decorations. Amazon and Instagram will hold contests for creativity.
Art In Bloom
The spirit of the season will be celebrated with oversized cherry blossom statues painted by local artists located around town.
City In Bloom
Businesses, organizations, and landmarks around the area will have cherry blossom-inspired lighting and decorations in windows and lobbies.
More than 200 restaurants in the area will offer special menus to celebrate the season. And on March 31, patrons are encouraged to wear pink to go out dining for a night of custom menu items at many locations.
On Saturday, April 16, the Capitol Riverfront will feature a variety of stages for live entertainment, interactive art, games, and other activities. There will also be an art walk starting on April 1.