Cherry Blossom Fever Invades D.C. Once Again
“The nation’s greatest springtime celebration” is upon us once again from March 20 to April 13: the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
It’s a celebration of both spring and our nation’s friendship with Japan. The festival has quite a history, which we’ve explained before, and we’re sure you’ve read it on here already.
With the theme “Step Into Spring” (don’t blame me for that dreadful name, or the Japanese for that matter), this year’s festival again features nine types of events (included in this number are the freebies) to fix your cherry blossom jones. There do seem to be a bunch of them. And if you snag a free Petal Pass at a participating Capital One Bank starting March 17, you can take advantage of deals at area businesses.
Signature events this year include:
• Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival – On April 5, from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the Southwest Waterfront, come out and enjoy live music, “cultural experiences,” “delicious foods” and “family[-]friendly water-related activities.” The fireworks start at 8:30 p.m. The event is free, but I’m almost certain the food isn’t.
Location: 600-900 Water Street, S.W.
Metrorail: Waterfront (Green Line); L’Enfant Plaza (Blue/Orange; Green; Yellow Lines).
• Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival – This colorful event takes place on April 12 from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The largest Japanese cultural festival in the U.S., Sakura Matsuri offers food, music (J-Pop and traditional), arts, merchandise and martial arts demonstrations. It costs $10 to attend; though $8 until April 4 when you order online; kids 12 and under get in free.
Location: 12th Street/Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Metrorail: Federal Triangle (Blue/Orange Line).
• National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade – Fun costumes, blossom-inspired décor, giant helium balloons, floats, marching bands, what more could you want? How about watching it all for free from 10 a.m. to noon? Yup. But if you want to grandstand it, it’ll cost you, starting at $20.
Location: Constitution Avenue, 7th-17th Streets, N.W.
Metrorail: Federal Triangle (Blue/Orange Line); Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter (Green/Yellow Line).
[ Related: 4 Places to Skate in the D.C. Area This Winter ]
Not enough pink for you? How about the festival app? And here is an excellent little map-cum-pamphlet that will point you toward the trees. As you can imagine, there are lots of supporters for this extravaganza, including Capital One Bank and Safeway.
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