The National Cherry Blossom Festival will be starting March 26th and lasting until April 10th. Here are some of our favorite picks of activities and events to celebrate the festival!
By Katherine Pena
On March 23rd the festival will be kicked off with this annual fundraiser hosted by celebrated chef and 2011 James Beard Foundation Awards Semifinalist for Restaurateur of the Year, Richard Sandoval. The party will feature cherry and blossom inspired foods prepared by top chefs in the metro DC area. Contributing to the fundraising efforts is the Silent & Online Auction Spectacular. Auction items range from a David Yurman bracelet to round trip tickets to Paris. Tickets can be purchased for this event online. Guests looking to heighten their experience can indulge a VIP experience presented by Veuve Clicquot. Guests who choose to do this will be able to mingle with the party’s host and enjoy an eight-course tasting menu by D.C. rising star chefs.
The festival will be kicked off with a line up of classical performances and traditions commemorating the gift of tries. Performers include Keiko Matsui, TAKE Dance and the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. The ceremony will be held at the National Building Museum and will be attended by numerous Washington dignitaries to welcome residents and visitors to the 16-day celebration. This event is free and will start at 4pm on Saturday March 26th.
Right before the opening ceremony, starting at 10 am until 3:30 at the National Building Museum, celebrate the cherry blossom season with hands on activities, art demonstrations and exciting indoor and outdoor performances. Children can use food cans to build 3-d creations, decorate miniature kites to prepare for the Blossom Kite Festival, assemble Kiribati flowers, and watch the Washington Ballet or the Nen Daiko Taiko Drum Ensemble and so much more. For more activities and performances, visit the website of this free & family friendly event.
Washington Walkswill be giving guided tours ,on March 26 and April 2nd & 9th, to share the secrets of the cherry blossoms. Have you ever wondered why cherry blossoms were chosen or whose idea it was? Get those questions answered by meeting outside the Smithsonian metro on these selected Saturday’s throughout the festival. Reservations are not needed and the cost is $15 a person.
Washington Photo Safari will be hosting instructional workshops in cherry blossom and travel photography along the tidal basin. You can join them for a session at sunrise or for the people who aren’t morning people, you can join them for a daytime session. Either way you will be gaining great tips from professional photographers and be getting great shots of the gorgeous cherry blossoms. Reservations can be made on the website and dates run throughout the length of the festival.
The National Parks Service will hold a variety of tours, led by park rangers, for you to learn more about these beautiful trees. You can join rangers for a 3.5 miles run at 8am on Saturdays for a tour of the trees, or for a more leisurely approach join the rangers for a walking tour given multiple times a day. For you night owls, meet at the paddle boat dock for a guided lantern tour where will guide you around the basin for a 2 miles. Three hour bike tours will be given on Sundays at well. For more information you can visit NPS on the web for a full list of tours and times.
Hop aboard a paddle boat to view the beautiful trees from the water. Make reservations early to reserve your boat so you can soak up the sun during the festival. Boats are $12 for 2 and $19 for 4 people. Reservations can be made on the paddle boat website.
What better way to enjoy the cherry blossoms while cruising the river and enjoying English High Tea. The cruise, which will only take part on weekends, will serve a selection of sandwiches, scone and biscuits along with the tea. Tickets can be purchased online and cost $70 a person.
The parade, which will be telecasted live, will be held on April 9th from 10am-noon. Marching bands, giant helium balloons and performers will stroll down Constitution ave from 7th to 17th streets NW. The Grand Marshall of this years parade will be Atticus Shaffer, who plays the youngest son on ABC’s hit show The Middle. The parade is free, but if you want a better look at the action, you can buy grandstand tickets for $17.
Stop by the largest Japanese street party in the nation on April 9th that will stretch for 6 blocks of the city. The event, which will be held right after the parade, will feature over 20 hours of live performances on 4 stages, have interactive hand on demonstrations of Japanese art and culture and a marketplace filled with Japanese products. Tickets can be reserved online through the Japanese America Society of Washington DC. Ticketmaster is also offering combine festival and parade grandstand tickets!
On April 2nd, stop by the Southwest Waterfront for entertainment and fireworks Starting at 1pm performances will be held by U.S. Navy Band, the U.S. Ceremonial Color Guard and the Seacocks, a boaters’ musical group. Besides the live entertainment there will also be family friendly activities, food and beverage. At 8:30pm watch the sky light up with an abundance of fireworks.
For guests of the festival 21+, you can join American Environmentalist and author of ‘Sustainable Sushi’ Casson Trenor for a 7 course tasting menu. This event will be held in partnership with National Geographic and Genji Sushi. Tickets can be purchased for $100 online.
Come fly a kite on the grounds of the Washington Monument to commence the first year of the Blossom Kite Festival. You can bring your own kite, build one at the activity station or buy the official kite of the festival! If you’re not up for the task of flying your own kite, you can watch demonstrations and competitions between skilled kite fliers from around the US. The festivities will be held on March 27th and will run from 10 am to 4 pm.