Spring has sprung in DC and ISH residents have enjoyed the sun, the warmth and the Cherry Blossoms.
The National Cherry Blossom festival is an annual event in DC that drives many tourists to visit the city. This year the festival was from March 20th until April 14th, with different events happening all over the city. If you are ever DC during the festival, you have to check out the Cherry Blossoms, as it should be on the top of every DC tourist bucket list. I have had the great fortune of attending two events this year -I went to the Kite Festival on Saturday March 30th and PetalPalooza on Saturday April 6th.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual event put on each year by a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the beauty of nature and international friendship. This organization’s programs and events are educational, environmentally friendly, showcase art and culture, and build community spirit. There is no wonder why over a million people come to this festival. This festival is primarily a commemoration of the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington DC. Another fun fact about the history of this festival is that on March 27th 1912 First Lady Helen Taft and Viscountess Chinda, the wife to the Japanese Ambassador, planted the first two trees in the Tidal Basin. Since then, many first ladies have continued this tradition and have been involved in the planning and activities of the festival.
The Kite festival was amazing, with professional kite flyers doing demonstrations, and they had choreographed routines to music. They also had stands selling kites, booths where you could make your own kite, and the entire national mall surrounding the monument was filled with locals and tourists flying their kites. Anything and everything that you want to know about kite flying, you can find out at this event. There were also national cherry blossom festival booths at the tidal basin. The tidal basin includes the Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr, George Mason, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorials. This space looks beautiful when the Cherry Blossom are in full bloom.
Photo: Jefferson Memorial surrounded by Blooming Cherry Blossoms and festival goers in pedal boats.
PetalPalooza was an equally spectacular event, which took place at the Wharf. This event had live music, giveaways, swings, and everything else to make it a real palooza. This was a day filled with food and drink, as well as activities for the whole family, including the pets -there were specific areas for pet care and comfort. There were also art installations and boat cruises. The weather was perfect for these activities. In addition, the cherry blossoms were in peak bloom during the event making the day that much better. The day ended with a fireworks display.
Photo: Art Installation at PetalPalooza
Photo: Main Stage at PetalPalooza
Photo: View from the Wharf of the docks and the boat display
There a few tips and tricks to making sure you have the best time at these events.
- The sun is strong, so make sure you have a hat, sunglasses, and plenty of sunscreen to keep your skin from being damaged. I hope you take my word for it, because I learned this the hard way.
- It will be crowded. Take the metro instead of car. The traffic is crazy.
- Plan ahead. Many of the activities are only at specific times. If there is something you want to see, make sure you get there early. It will take a while to make your way through the crowds.
For more information about the National Cherry Blossom Festival and complete schedule of events, please visit nationalcherryblossomfestival.org