Let the Festivities Begin
Bothered by the cold weather? Forget about it. Think spring, cherry blossoms and parades. The 2012 Centennial Celebration of Tokyo’s gift of trees to DC begins on Tuesday, March 20, with the Pink Tie Party fundraiser at The Mayflower Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel. The National Cherry Blossom Festival’s Opening Ceremony at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (801 Mount Vernon Place) follows on Sunday, March 25. That’s right, the Convention Center will host the Opening Ceremony for the first time, so please don’t show up at the National Building Museum (401 F Street)! This star-studded event will remain free, but this year you’ll need to reserve a seat (there will be 6,000 on hand). Tickets are available beginning Tuesday, January 3.
While you’re at it, save your spot for the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, taking place on Saturday, April 14, along Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th streets. Group and individual tickets for grandstand seating at the Parade are now available; the event is free to spectators along the Parade route.
In addition, get ready to vote for America’s Favorite Cherry Tree. In honor of the centennial anniversary of the gift of trees, you’ll be able to choose your preferred variety of cherry trees from three popular species—Yoshino, Kwanzan, and Autumn Flowering Cherry—now seen at the Tidal Basin and help both the Festival and Arbor Day Foundation select America’s Favorite Cherry Tree. All three tree varieties were part of the original gift from Tokyo to Washington, DC. Voting is open from January 3 through the end of the Festival, April 27, also National Arbor Day.
One final item: The second annual National Cherry Blossom Photo Contest with FotoDC will open in early 2012, encouraging people to submit photos in a variety of categories for cash prizes. Stay tuned.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is staffed and managed under contract by the DowntownDC BID.