FYIDC: 100 Years Of Cherry Blossoms

Promising upcoming events associated with the 100th anniversary of Washington’s National Cherry Blossom Festival.
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This year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival will mark the 100th anniversary of Japan’s beautiful and everlasting gift of friendship to the U.S. (Photo by glowflickerflash)

It’s time to put a cherry on top of an exceedingly enjoyable winter and welcome the spring season by attending 2012’s National Cherry Blossom Festival. Although Washington is already a popular vacation spot for families, The festival attracts visitors from around the country and the world to bask in the beauty that the cherry blossoms have to offer.
100 years ago, Japan offered the cherry blossoms to the United States as a gesture of friendship. Each year, people from all over gather in the city to celebrate this everlasting gift of international camaraderie and to kick-off the spring season. The National Cherry Blossom Festival Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving this annual celebration and promoting nature through events and educational initiatives that reflect Washington’s love of the environment, arts and culture.

National Geographic’s newest publication.

National Geographic’s newest publication, Cherry Blossoms: The Official Book of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, is written by and offers readers 200 pages of information about the 100’th anniversary of the festival, as well as photographs taken by Ron Blunt. The hardcover book celebrates the 3,000 cherry blossom trees that the U.S. received from Japan in 1912 and how they have inspired one of the largest springtime celebrations nationwide.
In addition, National Geographic’s children’s book, Cherry Blossoms Say Spring, is retailed at only $5.95. Written by award-wining author Jill Esbaum, The book looks at the life cycle of cherry trees, the history behind them, and how they now go hand-in-hand with spring.
This year’s festival will be held from March 20th to April 27th. For more information on the National Cherry Blossom Festival, click here.
Now here are some of our favorite events that the festival has to offer! With so many options to choose from, there are cultural, artistic and athletic events that are sure to entice people from any background and budget.

I’m On A Boat

What: Boat Tour Along The Blossoms And Monuments
Date: March 17
Location: The Fish Market – 1100 Maine Avenue, SW
Cost: $22 per adult and $16 per child aged 4-12
WL’s Take: DC Cruises has been offering boat tours for the past six years. The tour offers a new perspective to the famous cherry blossoms and monuments that will be seen during the ride. For more information, visit DC Cruises’ official website.

Let’s Go Fly A Kite

What: Blossom Kite Festival
Date: March 31
Location: Washington Monument grounds – Constitution Avenue & 17th Street, NW
Cost: Free!
WL’s Take: This year’s second annual Blossom Kite Festival will feature creative kite makers and masters from around the world that will compete against each other to demonstrate their high-flying skills. Bring your own and join in on the fun or make one with your kids at the activity station on the public field.

Attend Tea-Time

Date: March 31
Location: Old Ambassador Residence – 2516 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Cost: $20 per adult, free for kids under 12
WL’s Take: This tea ceremony is a 400 year old Japanese artistic tradition. Located at the Japanese Embassy, members of Omote Senke Domon Kai demonstrate the traditional Japanese custom. Click here for more details.

Experience The Two S’s of Japan

What: Sushi And Sake Tasting Cruises
Date: March 30-April 6
Location: Virginia’s Jewel – 1300 Maine Avenue, SW
Cost: $110
WL’s Take: Experience not only a boat tour of Washington’s memorials, but Japanese cuisine as well. This 2 1/2 hour cruise is well worth the splurge as you will get the chance to taste sake and sushi. Click here for tickets.

Buy A Kimono

Date: April 4 – April 6
Location: Mandarin Oriental – 1330 Maryland Avenue, SW
Cost: Free!
WL’s Take: This the the perfect event for fashionistas and collectors! This event will be one of the largest kimono sales events ever held, and will offer over 1,000 kimonos, Japanese cotton yukatas and accessories. It will also include kimono jewelry and hair clips, bags and small kimono animals. Click here for additional information.

Discover Japanese Culture

What: Sakura Matsuri-Japanese Street Festival
Date: April 14
Location: 12th Street & Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Cost: $5 for ages 13+
WL’s Take: This signature event always brings something new to the festival. Not only is it the largest Japanese cultural festival in the United States, but it also features food, arts and culture, merchandise, and live traditional and J-Pop performances as well as various martial arts demonstrations.

Pedal Your Way Around Town

What: Bike Tour Around The Tidal Basin
Date: March 24-April 15
Location: Downtown Dc, Union Station, or Old Alexandria
Cost: $35 per adult, $22 per child. Alexandria tour is $42 per adult and not recommended for children under 12
WL’s Take: Maintain your active lifestyle by participating in a two-hour bike tour. Explore the beauty that our nation’s capital has to offer at the most opportune time of the year. Sightsee from the Potomac Tidal Basin to East Potomac Park and have a front-row look at the pink and white blossoms.

Brighten Up Your Day

What: Lantern Making Family Day
Date: April 21
Location: The Yards Park – 10 Water Street, SE
Cost: Free!
WL’s Take: It’s never too late to learn something new! Other than lantern-making, this event will offer a parade, and Hapumudo will perform a variety of martial arts. A moonbounce for the kids will also be present as well as Sushi and other Japanese foods and Pinkberry frozen yogurt.

Try A Bowl Full Of Cherries

What: Bastille Bistro and Wine Bar
Date: March 20-April 27
Location: 1201 N. Royal Street in Old Town Alexandria, VA
Cost: Varies
WL’s Take: Chef Christophe and Michelle Poteaux’s cherry themed dinner will surley get you into the cherry blossom spirit. Festive menu items include foe gras terrine with cherry gel and cherry spiced bread and Berkshire pork served with cherry port sauce. Finish off your meal with white chocolate, morello cherry entremets.

Visit In Style

What: Park Hyatt Washington Hotel
Date: March 5- April 29
Location: 1201 24th Street, NW
Cost: Starting at $299
WL’s Take: The Park Hyatt’s Cherry Blossom package offers a room upgrade to a Premier Park Deluxe room, a vintage pot of Cherry Blossom Green Tea, a continental breakfast for two and a backpack for the kids that is filled with a map, healthy snacks, a disposable camera and other fun sightseeing tools that are essential for exploring the city. Purchasing one of these packages will also add to the total donation that the Park Hyatt Washington Hotel will make to the world-famous festival.

The Japanese gave 3,000 Cherry Blossom Trees to the U.S. in 1912.

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