Cherry Blossom Festival – Washington D.C.

English: Japanese cherry trees (Sakura), a gif...

One of the best times to visit Washington D.C. during the Cherry Blossom Festival.  Since 1927, the festival has celebrated the planting of the first two cherry trees in the area.

Tokyo, Japan gifted 3,000 cherry trees to Washington DC on March 27, 1912, as a gesture of friendship between the two countries.  Unfortunately, these trees were infected with insects, and in an effort to protect vegetation here in the United States, the trees were burned.  Then Secretary of State Knox wrote to the Japanese Ambassador Takamine of the situation.  After hearing this news, the Ambassador donated 3,000 cherry trees.  These specific trees were a hybrid of a famous group of trees in Tokyo.  These trees arrived in Washington DC on March 26, 1912.  In a ceremony the next day, President Taft’s wife, and Ambassador Takamine’s wife planted the first to cherry trees along the Potomac River‘s north bank.

Since 1927, Washington DC has celebrated the planting of the first two cherry trees along the Potomac with a festival.  Over the course of the years, the festival has evolved into a celebration that spans three weeks.  From a Pink Tie Party to a Spy Cherry Blossom SCVNGR hunt, there are tons of activities to include every member of the family.  And, if you want to take a tour, you have several options.  You may opt to take a guided bus tour, a cherry blossom safari, a photo tour, or cruise the Potomac River.  There truly is something for everyone!

Want to go at the peak cherry blossom time?  The National Park Service horticulturists predict that the peak blooming period forecast will start around March 22.  This is the period when only 20% of the blossoms are open until the petals fall off and the leaves appear.  Blooming periods start several days before the peak bloom, but all this is also affected by the unpredictable weather in Washington.  Currently, the NPS is predicting the 2013 Peak Bloom Date  is between March 26 – 30, and the average will be April 4.  To keep up to date on the bloom schedule, go to Bloom Watch Page or National Park Service.


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