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The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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In Bloom

As soon as spring begins to peak in Washington, D.C., the Tidal Basin fills with all shades of pink as the cherry blossoms start to appear everywhere. This time of year is tourist season downtown according to DC Cherry Blossom Watch, an estimated 1.5 million visitors per year visit D.C. to see these trees in peak bloom.

There are a total of 3,800 cherry blossom trees in D.C., many of which were a gift from the mayor of Tokyo in 1912. The annual celebration of these trees signifies the close bond created between the two countries that began with this gesture. There is a large variety of cherry blossom trees. According to the National Park Service, 70% are of the Yoshino variety, but others tend to bloom a few weeks after the Yoshino trees. “Peak bloom” refers to the time period when all Yoshino trees have bloomed.

While due to weather conditions this year, the peak bloom arrived on March 17, before the festival. It did not
affect the festival dates and visitors were still able to enjoy the cherry blossoms between March 20 and April 14, during the scheduled festival dates. Though peak bloom is at different times each year, it usually happens between the last week of March and the first week of April. Yearly information about the peak bloom can be found through the National Park Service.

The most cherry blossom trees are along the Tidal Basin. This area has a two-mile walking path, which provides the perfect place to walk around and practice hanami, the Japanese tradition of enjoying the beauty of the flowers. But getting to the Tidal Basin can be the opposite of relaxing. So, rather than sitting in traffic, take the metro downtown to see the cherry blossoms.

Throughout the festival, there are different tourist attractions and events you do not want to miss. There is an event called Petalpalooza, a day full of live music interspersed with fun activities, concluding with the National Cherry Blossom Fireworks Show. This free event happens anually, this year on April 6, and takes place along the beautiful banks of the Anacostia River.

Another event is called the Blossom Kite Festival, during which two competitions take place: an adult and youth kite making competition, where winners of each category win a prize. Each year, there is a theme for this event; this year’s was “Colors of the Wind.” Competitors worked to align their kite designs with this theme by incorporating bright colors to illuminate the sky.

On April 13, one of spring’s biggest events will take place: The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. There will be grand balloons and floats, marching bands from across the country and celebrity entertainers such as the Sugarhill Gang and American Idol finalist Colin Stough.

Local restaurants all get into the spirit of the cherry blossoms, including a list of featured Cherry Pick restaurants, a program for restaurants to showcase spring-time menus while being featured on Festival channels. These restaurants include El Bebe, Hard Rock Cafe, Bond 45 and Trulucks. These restaurants offer custom spring-themed menu items to celebrate the festival, like warm cherry cobbler at The Bond Cherry Blossom Brunch at Bond 45. There is also a yearly cherry-blossom-themed Washington Wizards basketball game, in which a portion of proceeds support care for the trees.

Visiting the cherry blossoms, especially when they are in peak bloom, is something everyone living in the D.C. area should experience, as it is the one of the best ways to celebrate the start of spring and take advantage of the beautiful pink flowers that blossom just a few miles away.

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About the Contributor
Leora Blumenthal
Leora Blumenthal, Reporter

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