The start of spring signals the start of tourist season in our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. The first day of spring is the beginning of The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. The 2015 Cherry Blossom Festival runs March 20th to April 14th. This festival has special events, family activities and cultural performances taking place around the Tidal Basin near the National Mall.
How Did the Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C. Get Started?
The D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the gift of 3,000 cherry trees from the city of Tokyo in 1912. In 1981, the United States returned the favor by giving Japan cuttings from our trees to replace ones that were destroyed in a flood in Japan. The first trees were planted at the North Bank of the Tidal Basin by First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, the wife of the Japanese Ambassador. This started the tradition of having the first ladies act as the honorary chair of the Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival is one of the D.C.’s greatest celebrations of spring. More than 1.5 million people visit Washington D.C. during the Cherry Blossom Festival to admire the blossoming cherry trees and participate in the special events which include: civic groups, international performers, lecturers, a kite festival, parades and festivals.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Events
There are a wide variety of cultural and family friendly events at the D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival celebrating Japanese history, culture and heritage. The events include performances and demonstrations from Japanese artists and performers to charity 5K walks/runs to spectacular fireworks. The opening ceremonies for the festival take place on March 21st at The Warner Theater with pop and classical performances from Japanese and American pop and classical artists. The Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk takes place Saturday, March 28th, with Japanese folk dancers and performers, celebrating the Japanese American spirit of patriotism during World War II. The Sakura Matsuri-Japanese Street Festival is the largest one day celebration of Japanese culture in the United States. The event takes place directly after the parade on April 12th at Pennsylvania Ave, NW between 9th and 14th Streets. The family friendly festival features arts, crafts, demonstrations, live entertainment on 4 stages, and food vendors.
National Park Rangers will lead daily programs around the Tidal Basin to explain the history and significance of the trees to the many visitors of the festival. Visitors can also go to one of the many special programming events during the Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival. One of the highlights of the D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival is the Blossom Kite Festival, which takes place on the National Mall on Saturday March 28th from 10am to 4:30pm. The kite flying competition, will feature special demonstrations and exhibits and showcase the creativity and skill of kite flyers and kite makers from around the world. It is quite a sight to see the colorful kites take to the sky! Cherry Blossom Family Days takes place April 4th between 8th and G Streets, NW. The day-long event will have family friendly activities, special performances, gardening demonstrations and live musical performances. The Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival takes place on Saturday, April 4th from 1pm to 9pm with music and fun for the entire family. A spectacular fireworks show will end the day’s festivities.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade is Saturday, April 11th starting at 10am. The parade runs 10 blocks along Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Streets. There are marching bands from across the United States, helium balloons, floats, celebrity performers and much more participating in this year’s parade.
According to the National Park Service, the peak viewing of the blossoms (or when the blossoms are 70% open) will be later in the festival: April 11th to 14th. Don’t miss all of the great cultural events, festivals and performances starting March 20th that help welcome spring to our nation’s capital. Stop by ezStorage’s five Washington D.C. storage facilities to find out how we can help you with all of your storage needs.