Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival welcomes Spring in Washington D.C. With over 3,000 Cherry trees in full bloom, there is probably nothing in this world, that is any more beautiful than the Tidal Basin area of Washington D.C., during the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
In 1912 the Japanese gave the Americans a gift of several Japanese Cherry trees, to promote friendship between the two countries. First Lady Helen Taft and the Japanese Ambassador’s wife planted the first two of these trees.
Today, there are well over 3,000 Japanese Cherry trees; planted along the 1.72 mile walk around the Tidal Basin, in which the whole world can come and see the beauty of these trees, and celebrate the friendship between the United States and Japan.
One of the best ways the see the beauty and majesty of National Cherry Blossom Festival, along the Tidal Basin, is to rent a pedal boat, and pedal around the Basin. The view is so different looking from the water onto the land, full of Cherry trees in full bloom.
Saturday, March 28th, 2009 opens the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The really hard part will be deciding whether you want to go to Family Day and the Opening Ceremony, at 401 F Street, NW; starting at 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; or the Smithsonian’s 43rd Annual Kite Festival, which is so amazing; it simply should not be missed. This is held at the Washington Monument Grounds on Constitution Ave., and 17th; and is from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
At the opening ceremony, there will be welcoming remarks from Washington dignitaries, and National Cherry Blossom Festival Goodwill ambassadors will be introduced. There will be performances by Japanese artists, as well as western artists.
At the annual Kite Festival, you can learn to make and fly a kite, as well as see some of the most amazing kite flying tricks in the world.
On the last Saturday of the festival there will be the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, and then will be followed by the Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival, presented by the Japanese America Society of Washington D.C.
There are so many things to see and do during the two week festival, but if time allows, I recommend taking one of the many bike tours of the Tidal Basin area. It only takes about two hours, and it really does provide an unforgettable experience.
You can go online to http://nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/cms/index.php?id=390 for a complete listing of all the events of the 2009 National Cherry Blossom Festival. And for a map of the area http://dc.about.com/library/maps/blmapTidalBasin.htm. These sites can help you to plan for a fantastic two-week festival vacation.