One of Washington’s premiere events is its National Cherry Blossom Festival, and this year’s event takes place from March 20 to April 14, and runs for four weekends consecutively.
Why does it take place?
In 1912, more than 3000 cherry trees were delivered to Washington by then Tokyo mayor, Yukio Ozaki in an effort to recognize the burgeoning friendship between the two countries. The 2013 incarnation of the event marks the 101st anniversary of the gift and the lasting relationship between the United States and Japan.
One of the featured attractions at the National Cherry Blossom Festival are the activities included at “Family Days.” Taking place at the National Building Museum (401 F Street, Washington D.C.), “Family Days” includes performances by local artists and even performers from across the country. Kids can decorate a cherry blossom tree with popcorn and use kimono-inspired designs to make and dress their own Japanese paper dolls.
The Blossom Kite Festival will kick things off on March 30 at the Washington Monument where 100 small pink kites adorned with cherry blossoms will be released. This will be in addition to various kite makers and fliers from around the world coming to DC to showcase their skills.
As if that wasn’t enough to entice you, there is a Fireworks show (April 6), the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade (April 13) and a Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival (April 13).
The parade itself will march down Constitution Avenue from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. where attendees can expect to see colorful floats, costumed dancers and blossom-inspired revelry. Last year, the parade was co-hosted by Katie Couric and Alex Trebek and celebrity grand marshals included Marie Osmond, Buzz Aldrin, and Kristi Yamaguchi. While this year’s marshals haven’t been announced yet., you can expect them to be of the same caliber. Grandstand tickets are available for $20, but you can also watch it for free on the street.
If you are thinking about making a Weekendtrip in Washington, the Festival has special rates organized with its hotel partners including Kimpton Hotels, the Mandarin Oriental, and the Renaissance Washington.
Here’s a mini photo gallery:
For more information, check out nationalcherryblossomfestival.org