Cherry Blossom Festival Seeks Donations for Japan

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The organizers of Washington DC's annual National Cherry Blossom Festival are urging people to donate to the American Red Cross for earthquake relief efforts in Japan.

John Malott, president of the Japan-America Society of Washington, tells the Associated Press the group will ask for donations for relief efforts from tourists who come to the capital for the festival, which honors U.S.-Japanese relations.

Festival spokeswoman Danielle Piacente tells the news outlet plans are being worked out so that the tsunami tragedy will be recognized during the festival, which runs March 26 to April 10 and draws millions of visitors each year.

The popular Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival on April 9 will still bring about 50 people from the Tokyo region to perform in Washington.

Festival organizers say people will soon be able to donate money through the Cherry Blossom Festival's website.

On the West Coast, the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego will begin on Saturday, March 19 with a moment of silence for Japan's earthquake and tsunami victims. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports visitors will be able to write messages to the people of Japan's Sendai region during the day-long festival.

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