Washington Monument

Washington Monument

National Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C. Celebrates 100 Years

March 12, 2012, 11:34 am

Cherry Blossoms in Bloom near the Washtington Monument; part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. is going above and beyond this spring to mark 100 years of beautiful blooms. This year the festival is extending from two weeks to six weeks from March 20 to April 27.

The projected 2012 Peak Bloom—when 70 percent of the flowers are open—is set to begin March 18 and will last through March 23. However, it’s hard to predict the exact dates. Peak bloom varies by year and weather conditions, which is the main concern this year due to unseasonably warm temperatures. The current March 18 estimated peak is two days before the festival begins. The National Park Service has changed the peak bloom several times recently, so be sure to check again before heading out.

In 1912, more than 3,000 Yoshino cherry blossom trees were given to the United States by Japan and planted in Washington, D.C. as a symbol of the countries close bond and friendship. You can see them along the Tidal Basin, which borders the Jefferson Memorial, the FDR Memorial, and the MLK Memorial, in West Potomac Park, East Potomac Park, and around the Washington Monument. These amazing trees have weathered storms, droughts and citizen marches over the past 100 years and it shows in their twisted, ancient trunks.

First Lady Michelle Obama will serve as the honorary chair of the legendary festival. Highlights include the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade®, a performance stage, the nation’s largest Japanese street festival, and a fireworks show.

For a full list of events and to learn more about the festival visit nationalcherryblossomfestival.org. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is also releasing a free app soon that lists and maps all events, gives visitors access to the latest festival news and lets you customize your own festival schedule.

Stay tuned to OhRanger.com for more information about the peak bloom, and follow nps.gov and The Washington Post for the latest stories and information on the festival. Enjoy the beauty of the trees with this remarkable Washington Post photo slideshow.

Can’t make it to D.C.? You don’t have to be in the capital to get your fill of cherry blossom fever! Check out CNN’s listing of other cherry blossom festivals at clickondetroit.com

Image: NPS