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.
courtesy of ‘erin m’
We’re hearing reports about a collision between two buses near the Tidal Basin on Ohio Drive. According to reports, bus passengers were able to exit the vehicles, but the two drivers were injured. DCFD and EMTs are on the scene, and area traffic delays should be expected. More updates to come as information is available.
Update 4pm: According to NBC, there were no passengers on the buses at the time of the crash. Apparently, one of the bus was parked on the side of the road when the other crashed head first into it. One driver was able to be taken out of his vehicle, while the other required extrication by DCFD and Emergency services. The drivers conditions were listed as serious and life-threatening. Ohio Drive is closed in both directions.
I did a round of the Tidal Basin today, and it looks like moving Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom dates back a week might have been premature; still a lot more buds than blossoms. It’s already very picturesque, however, so you won’t regret going this early, but there is still lots of promise for next week.
‘Hold onto your hats!’
courtesy of ‘lorigoldberg’
We’re getting much-needed rain today. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows our region as being in moderate drought conditions, so this rainfall is good news. It’s not a one-shot fix, though – Capitol Weather pointed out at the end of last month that we were a full five inches below normal, something you can’t correct in one hit. While it would be nice to get more dry days to enjoy the warming weather, we really need to be hoping for some more consistent rainfall over the next few months.
The downside to today’s catch-up is that you might be done with blossom-peeping whether or not you’ve gone out to do it. National Weather Service says we’re looking at a wind around 15mpg and gusts that could go up to 28mph. Tonight’s just going to get windier, to the point where there might be a wind advisory. As I recall, last year it was some windy spring weather that took us from beautiful to bare trees in no time at all.
So batten down your hatches, such as they are, and if you didn’t get to the basin, well, you can enjoy Ben’s shots,the great shots in the We Love DC pool or some of the over 300,000 pictures in Flickr marked with “Cherry Blossoms.”
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.