Cherry Blossoms in DC, for the 100th time

There are festivals, and then there are festivals. This is one of the latter. Through April 27, Washington, DC will be ablaze with cherry blossoms (never mind the pollen) – blossoms from the flora Japan bestowed on the people of the United States a century ago.

This just might be the best National Cherry Blossom Festival ever. Aside from imbibing the beauty of 3,000 Cherry Trees, consider these options:

March 31 join a few thousand of your fellow citizens out on the grounds of the Washington Monument for the Blossom Kite Festival. Kitemakers from throughout the world gather for the Hot Tricks Showdown and the raucous Rokkaku Battle. Kids have a place have a place out here too. They can fashion their own wood and paper flying machines at the kite activity station, and then fly them above Public Field.

April 7 the rockets red glare works its magic at the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival. From 1 p.m. on there’s music: the US Navy Band, the US Army Band – even the Band of Heathens. Interspersed are arts and crafts and a fabulous Food Truck Rally. At 8:30 in the evening, the fireworks (quite literally) start. This show’s been created especially for the 2012 Centennial.

April 14 the nation struts its stuff at the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade ®. Marching bands, assorted performers, lavish floats, and giant helium balloons make their way along Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th streets. If you’re out to capture the energy, enthusiasm, and unabashed patriotism that are at the heart of the National Cherry Blossom Festival this event does it nicely. Bring along some bottled water, sunglasses and a hat. It could be hot this year.

Story by Jerry Chandler

(Images: Mark Fischer, Geoff Livingston)