In 1912, Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gifted the city of Washington, DC 3,000 cherry trees in the spirit of friendship between Japan and the United States. To this day, the annual spring bloom of the cherry blossoms, and the accompanying National Cherry Blossom Festival serves as a celebration of Japanese culture and relations stateside.
Returning March 20 – April 13th this year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival will have a lot to enjoy. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the festivities.
The makeup of the festival consists of daily events that are meant to represent a diverse, and creative selection of programming that promotes traditional and contemporary arts. The majority of these events are free and open to the public, making them each an accessible, educational, and enriching experience for families and individuals traveling in Washington, DC.
The annual bloom watch is a popular, unofficial event of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Nature enthusiasts, flower lovers, closet horticulturalists, and anybody who wants to catch the trees at their prettiest can check out this guide to following the bloom. Included in the guide are directions to the tidal Basin, diary information from National Park Service horticulturists on the bud development process, and information on where the trees were at on specific dates last year.
You can also plan a tour with one of several providers associated with the National Cherry Blossom Festival when you visit this year. Among these Washington, DC cherry blossom tours there are boat cruises with included meals and fireworks, biking tours through the National Mall, and bus tours that take you to the trees and around the city to its many historic attractions.
At its core, the National Cherry Blossom Festival is a series of events that expose a wide range of cultural traditions and new age performing arts productions. Attendees can get swanky at a spring fundraiser, check out mind-blowing performances at the opening ceremony, see world-class dance shows, fly kites with hundreds of others, and do so much more.
Here are some of the events we’re most excited for.
The Pink Tie Party is an annual springtime social event in Washington, DC. Attracting the festival and city’s most notable citizens and attendees, the fundraiser is held to raise funds for The National Cherry Blossom Festival. There will be food from DC’s top chefs, an open bar, extravagant decor and a silent auction.
The 2019 National Cherry Blossom Festival will officially kick off with the opening ceremony, which will feature a number of critically acclaimed productions from international performers. The shows will consist of both traditional and contemporary performances at Washington, DC’s timeless Warner Theatre.
This new performance based on the hit Japanese comic Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon is one of the most unique stage musicals out there. Taking place at the opening ceremony, this eighty-minute production features a number of fantastic dance numbers, stage artwork, special effects, and fast-paced scenes. Having received rave reviews from its premieres in Tokyo and Paris this past fall and summer, it promises to be the talk of the festival.
One of our favorite events at The National Cherry Blossom Festival, the Blossom Kite Festival will return for its eighth straight year on March 30th. Showcasing the original work of kite makers and fliers from around the world, the day consists of a number of competitions and demonstrations including the Rokkaku Battles and the Hot Tricks Showdown. Come check it out and see the sky above the National Mall filled in a totally unique way.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival PetalPalooza is a free, signature event taking place on April 6th. Set on the Southwest Waterfront, this larger-than-life party will feature interactive art installations, giant games and activities, live musical performances, a beer garden and a nighttime fireworks show.
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