A Festival of Blossoms … and Celebrities

Monday, January 30, 2012

By DowntownDC



With spring in the air, what’s not to love about the upcoming National Cherry Blossom Festival? The extravaganza will take DC by storm beginning on Tuesday, March 20, with the signature Pink Tie Party fundraiser, hosted by renowned chefs José Andrés and Roy Yamaguchi at The Mayflower®  Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel and presented by Lincoln, a division of Ford Motor Company. More than 35 of the region’s top chefs, many located in Downtown at restaurants such as Art and Soul (415 New Jersey Avenue); J&G Steakhouse (515 15th Street) and Zaytinya (701 9th Street), will whip up lip smacking morsels, all to benefit Festival programs. If that’s your stomach growling, you need to purchase tickets now!

The Festival’s Opening Ceremony, taking place for the first time at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (801 Mount Vernon Place), is free and open to the public. Presented by Daichii Sankyo Co., Ltd. and MetLife, it will be an event to remember! Entertainment includes singer Denyce Graves; TAIKOPROJECT, the spectacular drumming and theatrical production; and The Washington Ballet. Tickets are available through the Festival’s website beginning early February, and will be distributed on a first asked, first served basis via its on-line reservation system.

As for the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade®, what can we say, except get ready for media bigwigs Katie Couric and Leon Harris, who will host the nation’s premier springtime procession with special correspondent Alex Trebek, of Jeopardy! fame and a past Grand Marshal of the Parade, on Saturday, April 14. Giant helium balloons, specialty units, a 1,500-plus strong youth tap and choir ensemble, marching bands, and more will not disappoint. Of course, standing along the Parade route is free, but to reserve grandstand seats for the best view, click here.

Brand new this year: the National Cherry Blossom Festival® Petal Pass, which will allow you to take advantage of exclusive deals and offers from museums, entertainment venues, and many others. The keepsake Petal Pass features the Festival’s official Centennial Celebration artwork by celebrated artist Peter Max. The Petal Pass program is a part of the City in Bloom campaign—which will unite the region with decals, yard signs, pink lighting and blossom projections on iconic buildings—presented by Capital One Bank. The passes are available at area Capital One Bank branches.

This year’s Festival will be an unprecedented five-week celebration of the 100th anniversary of Tokyo’s gift of trees to DC and will end on Friday, April 27, Arbor Day. Hope to see you there!

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