Spring is an exciting time that signifies the start of warmer weather for most people. However, if you live anywhere near Washington DC, it’s more than that. Most people in this area look forward to the blooming of the cherry blossom trees and Washington DC’s Cherry Blossom Festival. However, if you don’t live there, you’re probably a little confused about the event and what it means. If this sounds like you, keep reading as we go over everything you need to know about the Washington DC Cherry Blossom Festival.
What is the Washington DC Cherry Blossom Festival?
Spring in Washington DC is a significant time, as it signifies the blooming of cherry blossom trees and the celebration of the Cherry Blossom Festival. Each year, visitors from all around gather in Washington DC to honor the gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo in 1912.
The festival brings together over 1 million people and celebrates the friendship between the United States and Japan. This year, the event will last four weeks and includes tons of events and activities that are primarily free to the public. Read along as we go through the various celebratory events and activities held in Washington DC from March 20 – April 17, 2022.
When Did the Tradition Begin?
In the past, very small ceremonies celebrated the gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki in 1912. The first celebration included planting the original two trees from Japan by the former First Lady, Helen Herron Taft. Each year after this, the United States and Japan have exchanged gifts. One of the first gifts included dogwood trees from the United States to Japan in 1915.
Each year since the first celebration with First Lady Taft, it’s been a tradition for the First Lady to have some involvement in the festival. Years later, First Ladies have been a significant part of the festival by:
- Serving as honorary chairs
- Taking part in planting ceremonies, and
- Greeting guests at opening ceremonies
What Are the Main Events and Activities?
The Washington DC Cherry Blossom Festival lasts four weeks and hosts several cultural events for the community. Some of the main events include:
- The Opening Ceremony
- Blossom Kite Festival
- The Festival Parade
- Pink Tie Dinner Party
The Opening Ceremony
The Opening Ceremony, co-presented with the Japan Foundation, is held on March 20 and includes an artistic celebration of the 1912 gift of trees from Tokyo in Washington DC. This ceremony signifies the long-lasting friendship between Japan and the United States.
The ceremony features acclaimed artists with ties to both countries, such as The Minyo Crusaders, Keisho Ohno & Toshihiro Yuta, and Samurai Artist Kamui. Each of these artists is unique and offers different perspectives on cultural art.
Blossom Kite Festival
The Blossom Kite Festival is a long-standing DC tradition where festival-goers can fly their homemade kites on the Washington Monument grounds, at featured parks, or from home in 2022. Attendees of all ages are encouraged to fly kites among the cherry blossom trees.
This year, attendees can fly their kites in person at featured locations. Or, you can fly them virtually wherever you feel comfortable. If you want to compete, you can submit your kite into the Kitemaker’s Competition that takes place on the grounds of the Washington Monument.
The Festival Parade
The Festival Parade is one of Washington DC’s largest spectator events! This year, the event will take place on Saturday, April 9, from 10 AM – 12 PM, and features colorful helium balloons, elaborate floats, marching bands from all over the world, celebrity entertainers, and various performers.
This event is free for the most part, but spectators can purchase tickets to reserved grandstand seating in the performance areas of the Parade. Running for ten blocks along Consitution Avenue Northwest, this is one of the most exciting events for Festival-goers.
Petalpalooza is a day-long event on Saturday, April 16, welcoming people of all ages. This celebration brings together art and music across multiple outdoor stages, interactive art exhibits, a beer garden, and many family-friendly hands-on activities.
Petalpalooza is located along the banks of the Anacostia River and ends with a fantastic fireworks show. If you are looking forward to this event, it’s free! However, consider reserving a parking space beforehand, so you’re not scrambling to find one at the event.
Pink Tie Dinner Party
If you love the color pink, this event is for you! The Pink Tie Dinner Party is held on Thursday, April 28, from 6 PM – 10 PM at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. With the cost of $250, this exclusive fundraiser celebration is different from past years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tables that typically seat ten people will sit eight this year to allow for distancing and adequate space between attendees. This event also requires proof of Covid-19 vaccination to attend and mask-wearing while not eating or drinking.
So, if you’re interested in showing off all your finest pink attire while socializing and eating fabulous food, grab your tickets today!
How Often Does the Washington DC Cherry Blossom Festival Happen?
The Washington DC Cherry Blossom Festival happens once a year and signifies the arrival of Spring and the blooming of the cherry blossom trees. This event started in 1912 on March 27 and originated when First Lady Helen Herron Taft planted the first two trees from Japan in Washington DC.
Each year, the event encompasses four weeks, depending on the weather and peak bloom season. For example, in 2019, peak bloom was on April 1, while last year, peak bloom was on March 28. If you want to learn more about peak bloom during cherry blossom season, we’ll go over that next.
When is Peak Bloom During Cherry Blossom Season?
If you’re not exactly sure what “peak bloom” means for cherry blossoms, it’s defined as the day when 70% of the Yoshino Cherry blossoms are open. Peak bloom typically happens between the last week of March and the first week of April. However, it depends on extraordinarily warm or cool temperatures, which sometimes change the peak bloom dates.
Peak bloom typically lasts for several days, depending on the weather conditions. For example, if the weather is cool and calm, it can extend the length of the bloom. On the other hand, when it’s rainy and cold, the blooming can abruptly come to an end.
Each year, the National Park Service monitors the weather and the bud development to report the status of the blossoms. As stated before, it’s different each year and is still to be determined for this year.
Looking for Property Management in the DC Area?
The Washington DC Cherry Blossom Festival brings many people together and hosts a ton of exciting events each year. So, naturally, this includes people who live in the area already. Similarly, it includes people that want to live closer to this iconic event. So, if you’re looking for a rental near the DC area, check out these current listings today!
That said, if you own one or more rental properties in Washington DC and you’re looking for comprehensive management services, look no further. Bay Property Management Group offers a wide range of leasing services, including tenant screening, rent collection, and more.
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