National Cherry Blossom FestivalSince Japan gifted the US with 3,000 cherry blossom trees in 1912, the Cherry Blossom Festival has been an annual tradition, a celebration of the relationship between the two countries as well as a herald of the start of Spring, though it was only officially recognized in 1927.
A favorite story of the cherry blossom trees is that the first batch of trees shipped in 1910 was diseased, so two years later, a brand new shipment of trees arrived in our Capital. What we like most about this story is the coordination between dozens of people in Washington, DC and Tokyo, including First Lady Helen Taft, to ensure the safe arrival of the beloved cherry blossom trees. We think they’d be elated to hear that over 700,000 people descend upon Washington, DC every year to view these beautiful trees.
Today, the Cherry Blossom Festival is a month long celebration, with multiple daily events around the city. The events are varied and unique, ranging from musical performances to movie screenings to art exhibitions to kid-friendly events to wine tastings to a 10 mile run. Some of the highlights of this year’s festival include the Blossom Kite Festival, the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, the Japanese Street Festival, and Blossoms and Baseball at Nationals Park.
Naturally, the star of the Cherry Blossom Festival is the pink blossoms themselves. Nothing beats a leisurely stroll around the Tidal Basin, literally swathed in pink, the long branches heavily laden with blossoms, dipping into the Potomac River. We recommend packing a picnic and finding a grassy knoll or bench to enjoy the views of the cherry blossoms and the crowds. This is also a fabulous time to visit the Monuments in and around the Tidal Basin, taking in the view of pink from the Lincoln Memorial or the Jefferson Memorial (unfortunately, the Washington Monument is closed until 2019).
Be sure to check the official website for all upcoming events and alerts.