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Spring is a favorite time of year for many, and nowhere is this more apparent than in Washington DC. For our nation’s capital, spring signifies the arrival of more than just milder weather. This season marks the blooming of the magnificent cherry blossom trees, creating a vibrant spectacle of gorgeous pink flowers. If you’re planning a visit to DC in the springtime, you’ll be vacationing at just the right time to witness the beauty of the cherry blossoms and participate in the many events surrounding their arrival.
Continue reading for a brief history and details about what’s in store for the 2021 National Cherry Blossom Festival.
As an annual celebration, the Cherry Blossom Festival began from humble beginnings. Small ceremonies took place to commemorate the gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. The first ceremony, which took place on March 27, 1912, was simply the planting of the first two trees from Japan by then First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, the wife of the Japanese ambassador. Each year since, the United States and Japan have exchanged gifts, including flowering dogwood trees from the US to the people of Japan in 1915.
Every year since First Lady Taft’s involvement, it has been a tradition for the First Lady to be involved in the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. All First Ladies have been proponents of the festival, serving as honorary chairs, taking part in planting ceremonies and greeting guests at opening ceremonies.
Today, the Cherry Blossom Festival encompasses four weekends and draws more than 1.5 million people.
The annual Cherry Blossom Festival takes place every year throughout the city of Washington DC. A celebration of the gift of the cherry trees and our country’s friendship with Japan, the festival features hundreds of events and activities that span two weeks and includes parades, concerts, art and much more.
2021: This year, you can participate in the Cherry Blossom Festival through both virtual and personal experiences.
This year’s kick-off to the Cherry Blossom Festival will be live streamed on Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. where world-famous performers will entertain guests. Tickets are free, but require online registrations.
One of the festival’s most popular events, the Kite Festival celebrates spring and 51 years of kite flying. It’s a great opportunity to partake in this long standing tradition and share your experience with your family and friends. Those who register before March 27th, 2021 will receive first access to virtual workshops and demos. Guests are invited to fly their own kites in the safety of their backyard or neighborhood park.
Register by: March 27, 2021.
When: March 27-28, 2021.
Experience the blooming Cherry Blossoms with this year’s ‘Bloom Cam’, an exclusive video tour from a National Park Service Ranger who shares the history of this iconic landmark.
Bring the Cherry Blossom Festival to your porch and your neighbors! Decorate your home in celebration of the festival. The National Cherry Blossom Festival will launch a virtual map indicating Petal Porches that registered to participate, so you can view their decorations and share the celebration of spring. On April 10th & 11th, 2021, the Petal Procession will drive through select Petal Porch Parade D.C neighborhoods.
Register by: March 15th, 2021.
Petal Porch Parade and Processional: March 20, 2021 until April 10 & 11, 2021.
Join this virtual party hosted by: Tommy McFly and Kelly Collis of Real.Fun.DC. This party includes special guests and experts in a variety of related topics. All Pink Tie Party tickets include three-course carryout dinners from your choice of popular nearby restaurants. Tickets can be purchased online.
When: March 26, 2021.
There is so much to see, do and participate in during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. It’s a good idea to take advantage of the convenience of the Old Town Trolley. While on the trolley tour, you’ll be transported all over the city, including some of the spots where the festivities will be taking place. The trolley tour also eliminates the need for driving around the city and trying to find parking. Book your tour in advance to secure a seat during this busy time of year.
The annual Cherry Blossom Festival brings joy and excitement to the city unlike any other event all year. For those visiting during this time period, there are many activities, parties and events to enjoy. For more information about the festival, including dates, times and ticket information, visit the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s website.