The 2009 National Cherry Blossom Festival is from March 28 – April 12. This is the festival which welcomes the arrival of spring showcasing 3,000 cherry trees that are given to our capital near the Jefferson memorial in the Tidal Basin, by the city of Tokyo.
It is an annual two week event featuring 200 international arts and cultural performances, over 90 special events, exhibits to cuisine and sports and a lot more for everyone to enjoy.
Best parade viewing spots :
1) Early morning is the best time to enjoy the weather and to view the cherry trees by walking around as you can avoid the crowds at that time.
2) You can go for paddle boating where you can rent a paddle boat and can view the Cherry Trees and Jefferson Memorial from the water. The operating hours for paddle boating are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the rental charges for a 2 passenger boat is $8.00 per hour and for 4 passenger boat they charge $16.00 per hour.
3) There will be free walking tours to view and learn about the history of the cherry blossom trees. The available tours are National Park Service Ranger, Junior Ranger Programs, Cherry Talks/Walks, Bike Tours and Lantern Tours.
4) You can opt for a boat cruise which is a 90 minute cruise to enjoy the views of the cherry blossoms.
5) You can take bike rides to ride near the Jefferson Memorial, Japanese lantern, Hains Point, past Potomac Park and more. You can visit the Jefferson Memorial for free by arriving early to avoid crowds.
6) The mobility scooters are specifically designed for this festival to tour the Tidal basin, memorials and monuments along the National Mall.
7) To enjoy the cherry blossoms romantically, the best way is to take the carriage rides drawn by horses. During this festival, many restaurants around Washington, DC serve different recipes with cherries.
Some of the most popular events during this festival are
1) Smithsonian Kite Festival :
It is one of the most popular annual event during the National Cherry Blossom festival which features kite fliers exhibiting their skills. The kite enthusiasts from across the U.S. and the world compete for top prizes and awards.
This year, the kite organizations are sponsoring demonstrations and hands-on activities on how to make a kite, learn how to fly a kite and learn about the Smithsonian Kite Festival and the history of kites. The event is going to take place on Saturday, March 28, 2009 from 10am to 4pm, on the grounds of the National Mall, between 4th & 7th Streets, NW Washington, DC.
2) Tidal Basin Stage Cultural Performances :
Starting at noon fromMar 28, 2009 – Apr 12, 2009 there will be song, music and dance performances and martial arts demonstrations daily.
3) Concerts at Union Station :
Union Station is the Washington’s train station and shopping mall. It is theis the most visited destination where international cultural eventsandexhibitions take place. During this festival, there will beCultural performances and demonstrations from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm at Union Station – 50 Massachusetts Ave., NE. The dates are yet to be announced for theses concerts at Union Station.
4) Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado :
The most popular operaThe Mikado will be presented by the Washington Savoyards from 7:30 – 9:30 pm on Wednesday – Sunday and 2:30 – 4:00 pm on Sunday. It will be presented at Atlas Performing Arts Center – 1333 H Street, NE.
5) The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade :
A wonderful entertainment forfamilies is the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade with marching bands, horses, decorated floats, clowns, antique cars, colorful helium balloons, celebrity and military performances, cultural performing groups and the National Cherry Blossom Festival All-Star Youth Tap Dance Team and Choir. It is the largest public event which is going to take place on Saturday, April 4, 2009 from 10:00 a. m. to noon.
ParadeRoute : Along Constitution Avenue, NW, the parade begins from the 7th Street passing through Washington, DC attractions like National Archives, the Department of Justice, Smithsonian Museums, the Washington Monument and the White House and ends at 17th Street, drawing large crowds across the world.
For seating, you should arrive around 9:00a.m to claim your spot. You may purchase a reserved seating from http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/15004143CFA272A9?istid=847061&majorcatid=10003&minorcatid=54 which will be around $17.
6) The Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival :
After the parade, Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival is the biggest Japanese street party from 11 a.m. to 6.p.m on 12th Street and Pennsylvania Ave., NW. Federal Triangle and Archives/Navy Memorial are the closest metro stations to reach this festival.
The highlights of this Japanese festival include Japanese Performing Arts, special Japanese gardening display, Martial Arts Demonstrations, special exhibition of Japanese floral arrangements, Matsuri Markets featuring Matsuri T-shirts, Japanese snacks and soft drinks, Japanese Beer Gardens, showcase of Japanese bonsai trees in The National Arboretum, Japanese and Asian restaurants featuring Taste of Japan, Japanese products for sale in the Ginza Marketplace, the arts and crafts section where Japan Crafts, Arts and games are demonstrated.
7) Washington’s Southwest Waterfront Musical Prelude to the Fireworks :
As a part of the National Cherry blossom Festival, Washington’s Southwest Waterfront presents the fireworks on Saturday, April 11, 2009. You can enjoy the waterfront with cherry blossoms, music, food and fun.
Activities like performances by the Easter Bunny, Balloon Man, Pirates and McGruff, Seaworthy Ships to build, sail and decorate are included for kids. The musical entertainment includes “Pershing’s Own” Ship’s Company, Spirit of Washington entertainers, sea chantey singers and U.S. Army Band. The program begins at 5:00 p.m. and the fireworks at 8:30 p.m. at the Gangplank Marina, 600 Water Street SW.
Transportation : As it is the biggest event the public parking is limited. Along Madison and Jefferson Drives, there are free parking spaces but they fill up quickly. Metro is the best way to reach to the parade. Archives/Navy Memorial, Smithsonian and Federal Triangle are the closest Metro stations. To get to the Tidal Basin, the best Way is to take Metro to the Smithsonian Station on the Blue or Orange lines. Public transportation is highly recommended to enjoy the festival.