Cherry blossoms return to D.C.

March 26, 2004, midnight | By Caitlin Garlow | 16 years, 9 months ago

Spring festival will include many free events

The 92nd annual Washington, D.C., Cherry Blossom Festival will take place from March 27 until April 11 at the Tidal Basin and surrounding areas.

The festival has expanded this year to include many free activities sponsored by local museums, restaurants and companies. According to Katie Wilmeth, Marketing Coordinator for the Washington, D.C., Convention and Tourism Corporation, highlights of the festival will include "cultural performances along the Tidal Basin," a fireworks display, kite flying and concerts at Union Station.

Local restaurants will have many items on the menu with a "cherry theme," according to Wilmeth. A complete list of free events can be found at

The first cherry blossoms arrived in 1912 when the Japanese government gave 3,020 Yoshino cherry trees to the Americans in recognition of the friendship between the two countries. Today more than 3,700 different types of trees burst into bloom every spring for the enjoyment of about 800,000 spectators, according to Bill Hanbury, president of the Washington, D.C., Convention and Tourism Corporation. Hanbury estimated that the festival could bring in up to 100 million dollars.

The blooming period of the trees is expected to occur between March 28 and April 10, and the "peak blooming" of the trees, where 70 percent of the flowers are in bloom, is expected to take place between April 2 and April 4, according to Wilmeth. Wilmeth said that despite the recent cold spells, "we're supposed to have really beautiful weather," and the sunshine will "definitely bring in more people this year."

The annual cherry blossom parade will be held on April 3 from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 a.m. on Constitution Avenue between Seventh and 17th Streets. The Japanese street fair will also be held the same day and will feature martial-arts demonstrations and Sumo wrestling.

For more information on times and events, read The Washington Post's coverage here or visit the National Park Service web site here.

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Caitlin Garlow. Caitlin is a second-semester senior at last. Her favorite things include making fun of her homeless sister and hunting down her clothes in other people's closets. More »

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