Hard to believe it, but the National Cherry Blossom Festival is right around the corner! The official festival celebration is from March 26 through April 10 this year.
Just announced this morning by National Park Service Chief Horticulturist Rob DeFeo, the optimal bloom time for the blossoms will be March 29 – April 3, right in the middle of the Festival. The average peak bloom date is April 4 with varying lengths; last year was a short window due to the heavy snows that blanketed the area in February protracted heat wave in March 2010.
This year’s Festival boasts nearly 400 free events and performances surrounding traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit; in celebration of the 99th anniversary of the gift of cherry blossom trees. The Blossom Kite Festival, always a great event held on the National Mall, has moved to the first Saturday of the festival, March 27.
For the first time in 15 years, the popular Sakura Matsuri Japanese culture street festival on April 9 will charge an admission fee of $5.
Love this festival!! Does anyone know, aside from the obvious, why they decided to start charging for the street fest this year?
Last year’s short bloom period was caused by a protracted March heat wave that accelerated the blooming cycle, not the blizzards.
I stand corrected; thanks, dc man.
Mercii, this is from an email from the Japan-American society:
“Most of our members do not know that the Society bears all of the costs of the festival, from paying for the police to running electric cables over a six-square block area. Expenses have been going up by an average 15% each year, and the Festival’s budget is now over $300,000 for a one-day event. Almost 4,000 people – performers, vendors, government officials, and volunteers – are required to produce Sakura Matsuri, which is now the largest Japanese festival in the United States and the largest event of the two-week National Cherry Blossom Festival.
We hope that in addition to reducing crowd size and enhancing our visitors’ experience, this small admissions charge will provide an additional source of income, not just to continue the Festival and make it better, but also to provide more educational and cultural programs throughout the year to our members, their families, and the people of our Nation’s Capital.”
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