The National Cherry Blossom Festival

Zoe Nowlin and Samantha Hancock

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is held every year in Washington D.C. It starts March 27th and ends April 17th. The best time to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom is usually April 4th, according to our sources. The National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the gift from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo of giving Washington D.C. 3,000 cherry trees in 1912. The festival honors the people of the United States and Japan’s long-standing friendship. During the festival on April 16th from 1-9 p.m the National Cherry Blossom Festival will hold a Petalpalooza. It will be a full day of live music and engaging activities. There are several outdoor stages, interactive art installations, family-friendly hands-on games, and more are all part of this day-long all-ages festival along the Anacostia River’s banks. At 8:30 p.m. the evening comes to a close with a spectacular 15-minute synchronized fireworks show set to music. Parking can be difficult during this annual festival. Many recommend to reserve a parking spot because of how easy and affordable it is. You can do that by visiting the app SpotHero

The cherry blossoms are along a 2 mile loop around the Tidal Basin reservoir. On this path there is the Tidal Basin welcome center, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Franklin Delano Memorial, and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. One of the best ways to look at the trees other than walking the path is on a paddle boat. This year, Guest Services, Inc. is offering paddle boat reservations during the Cherry Blossom Festival. Paddle boats will be available daily from 10 am to 4 pm each day of the festival. During the festival there are a wide variety of food trucks around D.C. They sell a diversity of foods ranging from American to Mexican and even Halal approved foods. 

There are many other events leading up to the Cherry Blossom Festival and during it, one of them is the Official Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony which takes place April 3rd from 3 pm – 4:30 pm. According to the National Cherry Blossom Festival “this ceremony includes remarks by top US officials and Japanese diplomats as well as traditional songs and music performed by the Toho Koto Society of Washington DC and the Washington DC Choral Society.”