The 2016 National Cherry Blossom Festival Comes to DowntownDC!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

By Crystal Evans

Update: This story was updated March 16 to reflect the National Park Service's lates peak bloom prediction.

It's almost here! The nation's greatest springtime celebration, the world-famous National Cherry Blossom Festival, is coming to Downtown and you can join in the festivities. 

Signature events and fun family celebrations will take place throughout the D.C. area during the festival’s three week/four weekend run from March 20- April 17. Events in Downtown include the Opening Ceremony at the Warner Theatre, the Blossom Kite Festival on the National Mall, Family Day at the National Building Museum and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade®, where you will be able to see some of the DowntownDC Business Improvement District's (BID) ambassadors participating! Additionally, this year's Cherry Blast, by Events DC, will be held at the Carnegie Library.

[See list below for more DowntownDC events!]

In honor of the National Park Service’s (NPS) centennial, this year, the Festival encourages attendees to connect to parks by highlighting National Park Service parks in the area.

"The BID is excited to usher in the spring season with our friends at the National Cherry Blossom Festival," said BID Executive Director Neil O. Albert. "We are proud to serve as a host sponsor for the Festival, which draws over 1.5 million visitors and activates the city and Downtown with fun and creative programming that gets better and better each year."

This year, the National Park Service estimates cherry blossom blooms to begin to peak March 23-24. The peak bloom period is when NPS expects 70 percent of blossoms on the Yoshino cherry trees that surround the Tidal Basin to be open.  

The nation’s greatest springtime celebration annually begins the first day of spring, which is March 20 of this year, and continues through April 17. The Festival is where D.C., our region and nation unite to welcome spring and celebrate the 104th anniversary of Tokyo’s gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees to the city.

Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo in 1912, gifted the trees to the city of Washington, D.C. In a simple ceremony, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two cherry blossom trees from Japan on the north bank of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park. 

National Cherry Blossom Festival events in the DowntownDC BID include:

Au Naturel:

National Museum of Women in the Arts

Sunday, March 20

1 p.m. -2 p.m.

Environmental Film Festival:

The National Archives

Friday, March 25

12 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Family Day:

Presented with the National Building Museum

Saturday, March 26

9 a.m. -5 p.m.

Opening Ceremony:

Warner Theatre

Saturday, March 26

5 p.m. -6:30 p.m.

18th Annual Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk: 

National Japanese American Memorial 

Saturday, April 2

9 a.m. -12 p.m.

Blossom Kite Festival:

Celebrating 50 years of kite flying on the National Mall

Saturday, April 2

10 a.m. -4:30 p.m.

Art at the Center:

Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Monday, April 4

6:30 p.m.

SAAM Cherry Blossom Celebration:

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Saturday, April 9

11:30 a.m. -3 p.m.

Macy's Celebration of the Cherry Blossoms:

Macy's at Metro Center

Thursday, April 14

5:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade®:

Constitution Avenue

Saturday, April 16

10 a.m. -12 p.m.

25th Annual Blessing of the Fleets:

US Navy Memorial Foundation

Saturday, April 16

1 p.m. -5 p.m.

Cherry Blast:

Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square

Saturday, April 16

6 p.m.-11 p.m.

For more information on the National Cherry Blossom Festival and upcoming events, visit www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org