Cherry Blossom Festival, Special Events, The Features

Cherry Blossom Festival 2012: Week 1 Highlights

Photo courtesy of Pianoman75
Meta blossoms
courtesy of Pianoman75

While the peak bloom time of the area cherry blossoms has passed, the Centennial Celebration hasn’t! Officially kicked off last night, the National Cherry Blossom Festival begins in earnest this week.

Here are some of the highlight events happening over the next several days; many exhibitions and events are ongoing through the spring.
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Adventures, Cherry Blossom Festival, Downtown, Special Events, The Features

Celebrating 100 Years of Blossoms

Photo courtesy of katieharbath
Cherry Blossoms
courtesy of katieharbath
It’s cherry blossom time! This year is the Centennial anniversary of Japan’s gifting of the cherry trees to the U.S. and the National Cherry Blossom Festival has planned a whopping five weeks of events to celebrate. While the festival officially kicks off this coming Sunday, some events are already unfolding this week – not to mention we’re smack in the middle of the peak bloom time of the trees.

We’ll provide you a weekly listing of events here on WeLoveDC so you can keep up with all the fantastic offerings. There’s so much going on for the Centennial that we can promise there’s something for everyone! (And don’t forget to drop your photos into our Flickr pool!)

Tonight is the sold-out 2012 Pink Tie Party at the Mayflower Renaissance. Chefs José Andrés and Roy Yamaguchi, innovators in the culinary community, will host the evening, exemplifying the international collaboration and creativity at the heart of the Festival. The sixth annual fundraiser and kick-off to the Centennial Celebration and the “season of the blossoms” will feature area chefs’ spring-, cherry- and blossom-inspired cuisine and cocktails. An auction contributes to the Festival’s fundraising efforts offering everything from weekend getaways and yacht charters to concert, sporting, dining, and theater experiences and blossom- and Japanese-themed jewelry and apparel. Continue reading

Downtown, Essential DC, News, Special Events, The Daily Feed

And the Blossom Bloomtime Is….

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This year marks the centennial anniversary of Japan’s gift of cherry trees to Washington, DC and the enduring friendship between Japan and the United States. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is celebrating in style this year with a five-week calendar of events. Considered the nation’s greatest springtime celebration, this year will feature diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit.

Among some of the events are the Pink Tie Party on March 20 with Chefs Jose Andres and Roy Yamaguchi and the Cherry Blossom Parade on April 14, co-hosted by Katie Couric with special correspondents Alex Trebek, Leon Harris, and Alison Starling.

The biggest news, however, is the bloom prediction by NPS Chief Horticulturalist Rob DeFeo. Due to the light winter and continual warming trend, the peak bloom prediction this year is from March 24th through the 31st. In the coming weeks, watch for updates from WLDC on the exciting Cherry Blossom events and plans to come!

Interviews, Opinion, People, The Features

Best of…DC Perspectives

Photo courtesy of Danilo.Lewis|Fotography
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courtesy of Danilo.Lewis|Fotography

I’ll admit, I struggled a bit trying to figure out what to write a “Best of…” article around for this week. Sports? Covered. Food? Taken. I had to look deeper than the usual fare: what was it about DC—and about WeLoveDC in particular—that I really enjoyed over the past year? I realized that one of the perks we have is the slew of interview opportunities we’re given for the site. So why not look at some of the more interesting interviews we’ve done over the course of 2011?

Often, I find that through the glimpse of someone else’s eyes and perspectives, we’re given a mirror to gaze into our own lives and see where we are, what we’re missing, and what we can hope to achieve. We wrote quite a few interviews and features on people who live, work, and/or visit the DC area this year and I wanted to take a moment and point out some of the ones that really stand out. I hope you take a moment to dive into these great features and either revisit some old friends, or find your own inspiration to make a better 2012. Continue reading

Downtown, Entertainment, Essential DC, Interviews, People, Special Events, The Features, They Make DC

As Blossoms Arrive, a Moment with Diana Mayhew

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The National Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off tomorrow, commemorating Japan’s gift of 3,000 Yoshino cherry trees to the city 99 years ago. The Festival is a grand two-week affair that draws over a million people annually, with a diverse range of events all across the District.

Key to the success of this yearly event for the last decade has been NCBF President Diana Mayhew, who took over the helm in 2000 as Executive Director and then in 2007 as President. When she arrived, the Festival was an all-volunteer organization (begun in 1927) and its vision was to ensure that there was year-round, consistent staffing to ensure the growth, quality, and consistency of events. “We also help show the world that Washington, DC is synonymous with spring,” Mayhew told me. “There was a need to provide consistent services to residents and visitors interested in attending Festival events and there was no central communication.” The Downtown DC Business Improvement District (BID) donated the salary of an Executive Director for three years until the Festival got up on its feet, implementing fundraising and sponsorships to support itself and the cost of programming, which is offered free to the public.

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The Daily Feed

And the Cherry Blossoms Cometh…

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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.

The Daily Feed, We Green DC

Think Spring – and Planting Cherry Trees

Photo courtesy of
‘DSC_2489′
courtesy of ‘bhrome’

Ever wanted to do more than just wander among the cherry trees during the National Cherry Blossom Festival (NCBF)? A new partnership between the NCBF and Casey Trees will now let you do just that.

Community groups who are interested in adding ten or more trees to public property in their neighborhood – property which includes DCPS and Charter schools and universities, parks, libraries, places of worship – can apply to the new Neighborhood Tree Planting Program for all eight wards of the District.

Groups can register by visiting the Casey Trees website and should make sure to list their intention to plant between three and ten cherry trees. Eligible sites should have the capacity to plant and maintain a minimum of ten trees; only three need to be cherry trees as part of the program.

The application deadline is November 30, with plantings occurring in the spring of 2011.

The Features, Weekend Flashback

Weekend Flashback: 4/3 – 4/5/09

Photo courtesy of base10
Macro Blossoms II/Washington DC, courtesy of base10

Did you get out to see the blossoms, like seemingly everyone else around here and along the East Coast? A gorgeous weekend – even with high wind bursts on Saturday – couldn’t damper the Cherry Blossom Festival and many blooms remained attached to their branches. Which meant they were still in place for area and tourist photographers to capture.

If you’re still hankering for more, check out the WeLoveDC flickr pool, as many of our “regular” contributors’ photos can be seen there. Just watch out – you might get so engrossed you may lose track of time like I did…

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Essential DC, Monumental, The Features, The Great Outdoors

Monumental: Cherry Blossoms

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On March 26, 1912, probably the most famous ‘monument’ in the Washington DC area arrived from Japan: 3,020 cherry trees.

Year after year, these trees bloom in a beautiful display that gives us a sure-fire sign that spring is upon us. It’s also the time of the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival and probably brings the biggest influx of tourists for the year.

And, by far, the blooms give the city a photogenic quality that never gets old.

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Essential DC, The Daily Feed

Blossom Time UPDATED!

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So a couple weeks ago, the National Park Service announced when the peak blooming period would be for the cherry blossoms this year.

Apparently, they were wrong.

This morning, Rob DeFeo, the Chief Horticulturist of the NPS, announced a ‘revised’ bloom period: April 1-4 . (Yep, shorter than previously predicted.)

We can’t blame DeFeo for revising his forecast; for years, he gave the prediction only a few days from the annual festival. These days, he’s been pressed to give it closer to three weeks out. And it’s been four years since Eleanor Moffatt passed away; her advice was always welcome around the NPS when it came to predicting the beautiful blossoms’ bloom time. DeFeo’s only been wrong a few times in his 19 year career as the Chief Horticulturist.

So DC, get ready. The tourists, they are a-comin’…