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Cherry Blossom Festival: Tips from a Local

By Washington DC Expert:Vera, USA, March 2011

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The Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington is famous world-wide.  It all started with a letter from First Lady Helen Taft to the Mayor of Tokyo in 1912. She wrote to him complimenting the beautiful cherry blossoms she had seen in Japan, and he responded with a gift of 3,000 trees. These elegant trees have been gracing the area around the Tidal Basin (near the Jefferson Memorial) ever since, and now all around the city as well. We celebrate their short but stunning blooming cycle with a two-week festival, which you can learn more about at www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.

There is an Opening Ceremony on the first day- which is impressive- but for locals there is one event that truly kicks off the festival, and that is the Kite Festival. On the grounds of the Washington Monument, dozens of people come out to fly kites, show off stunts and tricks, and compete for prizes. It’s fun for the kids, and will make you feel like a kid even if you don’t bring any along.

But here’s your real insider tip: Though it is a two-week festival, the best time to plan to see the blossoms at peak bloom is usually between March 31st and April 4th. I can’t promise anything, but as a local I’m telling you this is what I’ve seen, so I hope it helps! Oh and by the way, nothing is more peaceful, calm, and romantic than a moonlit walk under the blossoms...

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