March 20 – April 27, 2012
More than a million people come each year to watch the blossoming cherry trees turn the Tidal basin in West Potomac Park into a cloud of pink. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. The annual two-week celebration honors the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan, with more than 200 international cultural performances and over 90 other events scheduled around the city.
To launch the Centennial Celebration, the National Cherry Blossom Festival will stage a concert and show at the WalterE. Washington Convention Center. A pre-show includes strolling musicians, cultural exhibits, and historical imagery. The musical lineup features renowned American and international artists. James Beard Award-winning chefs José Andrés and Roy Yamaguchi host the Pink Tie Party fundraiser on Tuesday, March 20 from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. Don pink and spring attire for an evening of cherry blossom-inspired cuisine and cocktails from 35 of metro-DC’s top chefs, followed by a silent auction, and after-hours lounge.
Among the many events around town, The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade (April 14), one of DC’s largest yearly public events, draws over 100,000 spectators. Family-friendly entertainment includes floats, balloons, marching bands, clowns, horses, antique cars, and celebrity performances. Sakura Matsuri, the largest Japanese cultural festival in the United States, will follow the parade with food, arts, and live traditional and J-Pop performances on four stages, as well as martial arts demonstrations. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. 12th Street & Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is planned to coincide with the blooming of the Yoshino cherry blossoms. The mean date is April 4, but nature isn’t always punctual. Be prepared for heavier crowds on weekends and during peak bloom. The cherry blossom trees grow in three National Park Service locations: around the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, in East Potomac Park, and on the Washington Monument grounds.
National Cherry Blossom Festival March 20-April 27, 2012.
WHERE TO STAY DURING THE FESTIVITIES:
Mandarin Oriental DC: What better way to enjoy this festival than at a Mandarin Oriental Hotel?! This 5 star property overlooks the Southwest Waterfront and inside features asian-inspired design and decor. Step into the soothing oasis of their 10,500 square foot Spa, continuously ranked at the top of the list for best spas in North America. And as a special treat for our clients receive a complimentary buffet breakfast for two daily in Sou’Wester and exclusive benefits for staying in any of the Tai Pan Club rooms.
The Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown: Once the Georgetown incinerator, the 5 star Georgetown Ritz-Carlton Hotel is housed in a distinguishing turn-of-the-century red brick building complete with a 130-foot smokestack rising above Georgetown’s skyline. A boutique hotel with only 86 rooms, each equipped with a separate soaking tub and stand-alone shower, this hotel has become a popular retreat for travelers alike.
Fairfax at Embassy Row: This 4.5 star hotel is the closest thing to staying at the prestigious White House. Popular among dignitaries, business guests and discerning travelers alike, The Fairfax Hotel DC has been providing luxury accommodations and world-renowned service since 1927. Ideally situated right by Dupont Circle, this pet-friendly hotel is only two metro stops from the National Mall, Smithsonian Institution and the famous monuments and memorials of Washington, DC.