Flower Power: Cherry Blossom Festival Takes Over D.C.

2010 National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade

Dancing in the street: The always colorful cherry blossom parade will make its way down Constitution Avenue on Saturday, April 13. Grandstand seats are $20, but you can stand along the route for free. (RYANISLAND via Flickr)

Another threepeater here at ApartmentShowcase.com, the National Cherry Blossom Festival is “the nation’s greatest springtime celebration,” so says their website. Who am I to argue?

This thing is so huge that it takes on a life of its own, as for three-and-a-half weeks (March 20-April 14) sections of Washington, D.C., are swathed in pink, both organically (the flowering cherry blossoms themselves) and synthetically (a cavalcade of pink signage and paraphernalia).

The site claims more than a million-and-a-half people a year visit the city “to admire the blossoming cherry trees and participate in [the] diverse programming that heralds spring in the nation’s capital.”

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Here’s where to see the cherry blossoms.

Festival organizers even offer a free Petal Pass, which gives you exclusive deals at participating businesses through the festival and even until the end of April. Petal Passes are available at regional Capitol One Bank branches starting on March 18.

There are nine different types of events to choose from (among those “types” include those the festival lists as “free”), with venues all over the metro area. Here is the Metrorail map to help you along.

Here are three signature events:

    • National Cherry Blossom Festival Opening Ceremony – Taking place at the Warner Theatre on March 23, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., this event is free, but you must reserve your tickets. (I have no clue why it’s not held on the 20th, either.) Here, theatergoers will learn how the 1912 gift of cherry trees from Japan turned into such a festive occasion.

 

    • Family Days – Presented with the National Building Museum at the aforementioned site, this free event takes place March 23rd (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) and 24th (11 a.m.-4 p.m.). Family Days “features hands-on activities, interactive art demonstrations, and exciting indoor and outdoor performances that celebrate spring and explore Japanese arts and design.”

 

  • Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival – This downtown event, taking place on April 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (it stretches nearly a mile, and the address they give is 12th Street and Pennsylvania, N.W.), is just like it sounds: food, arts, merchandise, live traditional and J-pop performances and, of course, martial arts demonstrations. For those 13 and older, it costs $5 to get in.

Here’s a list of press releases from the site, as well as an exhausting FAQ page. As you can see, the FAQ is legion and covers many facets of the festival.

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There’s also a festival app that lets you browse events, keep up on festival news and even find a festival-inspired meal at a participating restaurant.

Sponsors include The Examiner, Capitol One Bank and Safeway.

But you don’t need me to talk up this festival. If you like this kinda thing – Japanese culture, pretty blossoms, crowds of people – you’ll want to attend this one-of-a-kind, only-in-D.C. offering, whether you rent an apartment in the city or not.

Find your next apartment in the area with Apartment Showcase.

 

Scott D

Scott D

Scott is a local writer and has been with the Apartment Showcase blog since its inception in 2010.

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