Cherry Blossom Festival: Celebrate Spring in Washington DC

After a long winter, the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC is a welcome way to celebrate rebirth and new life, since cherry blossoms are a symbol of Spring. More than 3,000 Japanese cherry blossom trees were given as a gift from the nation of Japan in 1912, and their beauty still stands today, a living promise of friendship and hope for the future. If you are interested in learning more of this heartwarming history, I suggest taking the Blossom Secrets Stroll ($15), a guided tour to teach you about the cherry blossoms in Washington DC. The complete history of the cherry trees is a fascinating read and the National Park Service website has a comprehensive timeline for further study.

There are many activities during the Cherry Blossom Festival for individuals of all ages and walks of life. The festival runs from March 26 through April 10 so there are sixteen full days of celebration and excitement. Not to be missed is the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade on April 9. Expect all the typical parade ingredients like floats and school marching bands, but enjoy all the unique emphasis on the lovely cherry blossoms. There is special grandstand seating available to view the parade ($17) or you can view roadside for free.

If you are attending the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC with children, then Family Day is a wonderful opportunity for your little ones to learn, explore, and have fun! Held on March 26, this free event at the National Building Museum is designed with children in mind. There are arts and crafts to keep hands and minds busy, performances such as the Shizumi Kodomo Dance Troupe, and even a presentation on making 'green' and healthy choices.

The Cherry Blossom Festival, keeping in tradition with its history of giving, is not without a charity event for adults who want to give back. The 2011 Pink Tie Party will be held at The Mayflower Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel on March 23, a few days prior to the official beginning of the Cherry Blossom Festival. The standard cost of entry is $150 per person but there is a special VIP entry available for $250 per person. This year, the fundraiser will be sponsored by the fabulous Macy's and by Open Skies airline. Attendees are to wear spring fashion and pink ties in honor of the cherry blossoms about to be celebrated. All guests will enjoy fine food put together by some of Washington DC's most renowned chefs and the VIP ticket will allow you to meet the chefs and enjoy a special menu. The auction portion of this fundraiser event will feature fine products (many with a cherry blossom theme, of course!) and all proceeds will go directly to support the 16-day festival.

I recommend stopping by the official National Cherry Blossom Festival Headquarters at Union Station (55 Massachusetts Avenue, NE – Main Hall) for all the information you'll need to plan your visit as well as souvenirs to remember your celebration of the cherry blossoms in Washington DC.

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