Many places around the world have cherry blossom festivals. Seeing these pink flowers blossom is just as uplifting as the idea of winter finally lifting. But few places in America enjoy such big crowds and beautiful blossoms as Washington, DC. If you love cherry blossoms, take in the coming of spring in the nation’s capital. From March 20 to April 12, come celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival to celebrate spring and renew our nation’s goodwill with Japan.
History of the Festival
It all started in 1912 when First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, the wife of the Japanese Ambassador, planted two of 3,000 donated cherry trees in Washington DC. This act of friendship is now commemorated by an annual friendship renewal ceremony. Through the years, the ceremony turned into what is now a four-week festival with events and attractions that are fun for the whole family.
Events at the Festival
For the 2020 festival, there are attractions all across town. Some highlights include:
- Friday, March 20- The Pink Tie Party: This evening event features live entertainment in a stylish setting. Local restaurants will provide the latest in gourmet cuisine with an open bar. Tickets are $225 per person and benefit the non-profit that organizes the festival.
- Saturday, March 21- Opening Ceremony: The Warner Theatre hosts the opening ceremonies with world-renown dancers and musicians performing extraordinary wonders. At last year’s event, tickets were free with a $5 processing fee. Premium seating was $15. Watch the official website for current year ticket information.
- Saturday, March 28- Blossom Kite Festival: Share in a Japanese tradition of kite flying. At the National Mall, you can build and fly your own kite. While there, you will see demonstrations from kite experts.
- Saturday, March 28- Petalpalooza: This all-day event takes place at the Capitol Riverfront. You can find live music and many fun attractions that are fun for the whole family. You may find interesting things to do for your well-behaved four-legged friends as well.
- Saturday, April 4- Parade: Make sure you get a good seat along Constitution Avenue. You won’t want to miss the floats, balloons, marching bands, and many other spectacles of the parade. The route goes from the National Archives to the Washington Monument.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. Over the four week celebration, there are many more events you can’t miss. Make sure you check out the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s official website to learn about all of the other events.
Places to Stay
As you plan your trip to the festival, consider staying a little outside the DC. area. Hotels in Merrifield, VA, are close enough to the events, yet give you the ability to have a break from the big city congestion. After a long day outside among large crowds, having a quiet place to relax may be just what you need.
One of the more popular choices is the Hyatt House Falls Church/Merrifield. This hotel offers upscale rooms and is pet-friendly to smaller breeds. They feature a swimming pool, gym, and a restaurant. The Falls Church Marriott Fairview Park is another popular choice. This hotel offers an upscale experience and a free Metro shuttle service around the local area. They are located only 10 miles away from Washington DC, making your trip to the festival an easy drive.