photo credit: Matt Blasi Design & Photography
Generally, when the Tidal Basin goes into full bloom with the hundreds of cherry blossom trees well, blossoming, it’s a good idea to stay away from the Mall because that means tourist season has begun and it will be packed. However, this year, it’s worth braving the sea of people – it is the 100th anniversary of the gift of the cherry blossom trees.
For those unfamiliar with the story of the cherry blossom trees and, in turn, the festival, here is a brief recap. In 1912, the city of Tokyo gifted to the United States cherry blossom trees to be planted along the basin. They have been a symbol of friendship between the two countries and every year Washington DC celebrates their blossoming in March and April. Since this is the centennial celebration, you can bet that this is going to be a special festival.
While many of the events are geared towards families, there are still many things to do for the young adult crowd.
Jazz at the Jefferson: Similar to Jazz in the Garden, this event takes place at the Jefferson Memorial (hence the name) and happens from April 19th to April 22nd offering evening concerts on the 20th and 21st.
Cherry Blossom Regatta: This is the 6th year for the event, and has an 11 am start. You can watch the race from Hains Point or purchase a ticket for a ride on a commercial tour boat. If you are a sailor and want to participate, you can find more information on the Cherry Blossom Festival website or on the Daingerfield Island Sailing Club website.
The Tidal Basin Paddle Boats: Throughout the Cherry Blossom Festival, you have the chance to rent a paddle boat to get a completely different look at the Cherry Blossoms. You can rent a two passenger boat or a four passenger boat. They take walk up reservations or you can make your reservation online.
Spy at Night Cherry Blossom: If you haven’t been to one of the Spy Museums Spy at Night events, you should plan to attend this one. On April 13, from 6 pm to 11 pm, you can learn about Ninja Spies and participate in a blossom themed scavenger hunt while sipping Cherry Blossom cocktails.
“100 Years of Kimono” Trunk Show: If you have any interest in learning more about kimonos or perhaps purchasing one for your personal collection, you should look into this event at the Mandarin Oriental. The event goes from April 4th to April 6th kicking off Wednesday, April 4th at 5 pm.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade: I have to say, I love a good parade. Beginning at 10 am, this is worth getting up early for. The parade route begins at 7th and Constitution Ave, ending at 17th and Constitution. They have floats, entertainment and marching bands. Also, be on the lookout for Cherry Blossom Princesses and the newly coordinated Queen to pass through on the parade route. (Full disclosure: I am a former Cherry Blossom Princess, so I have to give them a shameless plug.) If you can’t pull yourself out of bed, you can watch the parade on your TV on NewsChannel8 or WJLA−ABC7.
To keep track of all the events happening at the festival, I recommend that you download the free iPhone/ Android app.
Enjoy the blossoms!