COMMENTARY | Other than legislative battles, there’s no greater concern in Washington, DC than the status of the Cherry Blossoms during the Winter of 2013-2014. Given that they appear to have survived the Polar Vortex and all the other bitter weather, it’s time for the nation’s capital to put on the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
It’s an event my wife and I attended years ago when we lived outside Washington, DC. It’s a must-see for any nearby resident or visitor to enjoy.
For 2014, the National Cherry Blossom Festival will commence on Thursday, March 20 with a Pink Tie Party Fundraiser at the Ronald Reagan building. For the next three weeks, Washington DC’s Tidal Basin will see the blossoming of the Cherry Blossom trees which started nearly 100 years ago when Japan gave the United States nearly 600 trees.
We were drawn to the National Cherry Blossom Festival, because it combined our two passions: my wife’s love of Japanese culture and my passion for politics. She emptied a roll of film on the beautiful pink flowers, set against picturesque sites like the Washington Monument, the White House, the Jefferson Memorial, the waterfront, and other government buildings.
Yet those were equaled, if not surpassed, by the White House Spring Garden Tour. Several of us were allowed free reign over the President’s grounds, walking among the gardens, listening to bands playing on the balcony, touring the Executive Mansion itself, and even watching the Marine One helicopter bringing President George W. Bush back from Camp David.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival notes that there will be several other events between mid-March and Sunday, April 13. Attached is the Top 10 list of must see events for this month in Washington DC. More details of the events can be found at the links.
Top 10 Events To See During The 2014 National Cherry Blossom Festival.
1) White House Spring Gardens Tour, April of 2014, Pennsylvania Avenue. Check this site for details and dates.
2) Blossom Kite Festival, Saturday, March 29, Washington Memorial.
3) Japanese Street Festival (Sakura Matsuri), Saturday, April 12, Pennsylvania Avenue & 12th. Street.
4) National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, Saturday, April 12, Constitutional Avenue & 7th. Street.
5) Thomas Jefferson Birthday, April 13, 2014, Jefferson Memorial.
6) Opening Ceremony, March 22, 2014, Warner Theater.
7) Smithsonian Craft Show, April 10-13, 2014.
8) Family Days, Saturday & Sunday, March 22-23, 2014, National Building Museum.
9) Bethesda Literary Festival, April 11-13, 2014, Downtown Bethesda, Maryland.
10) Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival, April 5, Waterfront.
The peak time for visiting the Cherry Blossoms is in the first week of April. Parking is tough, so take the Metro. Many others will, so get an early start. The best pictures will occur in the afternoon.
Washington, DC can get pretty crowded and pricy, but you can find decent accommodations (lodging and food) over in Virginia and Maryland, if you’d like to save a few dollars. If you have enough to treat yourself, look for a series of international restaurants between Dupont Circle and Woodley Park in the district.
And don’t cheap out with a shoddy camera. Get a high quality version, as the photos, and memories, will last a lifetime.