National Cherry Blossom Festival
March 20 to April 13, 2014
This three-week, citywide festival celebrates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees to Washington, DC by the mayor of Tokyo. The festival features a range of spectacular events, from its eponymous kite extravaganza on the National Mall to fun cultural experiences like sake tastings. Local restaurants even get into the spirit with NCBF's Cherry Picks program, featuring cherry blossom-themed food and drink items. And it all leads up to the capper: the storied National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. Below is a list of notable events, for a full list of the events, visit the National Cherry Blossom Festival website.
Pink Tie Party
Show off your duds and show your support for the blossoms at this exclusive pink tie fundraiser, where a $200 ticket will give you access to one sophisticated celebration. Mixologists go toe to toe with their own heady cherry blossom concoctions, while chefs also get into the spirit by rustling up spring-themed eats.
National Cherry Blossom Opening Ceremony
Die-hard blossom-goers make a point to be official about their visit by reserving tickets to this free event. Experience the festival on stage, through traditional and contemporary performances at the Warner Theatre.
Family Days presented with the National Building Museum
This free event is a favorite for kids. Take in Japanese-style design and art; or, let the kiddies create their own art or partake in other exciting activities.
Blossom Kite Festival
March 30 (Originally scheduled for March 29 but postponed until March 30 due to inclement weather.)
Head to the Washington Monument for the third consecutive Blossom Kite Festival. Watch expert kite fliers from all over the world participate in the Hot Tricks Showdown, a stunt kite-flying event. Make sure you bring your camera.
Grand Sake Tasting
Sip the ultimate Japanese libation in a library. Held at the historic Carnegie Library, the Grand Sake Tasting will involve 20 master sake brewers from Japan, Japanese beer, schochu, cuisine from local Japanese restaurants and performers. Tickets start at $100.
Annual Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk
Lace up your sneakers for this stroll, which commemorates Japanese Americans and their experience during the Second World War. The walk begins and ends at the intersection of Louisiana & New Jersey Avenues NW, the site of the National Japanese American Memorial.
Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
Music lovers, get ready for eight straight hours of free tunes at the Southwest Waterfornt. Folks can stroll along the riverside for fresh seafood finds, and stick around for one of the best vistas for firework watching.
Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and 5K Run-Walk
Set up shop in East Potomac Park to catch views of runners participating in this year’s contest. Unfortunately, all of the slots have already filled up, but you can still cheer on the approximately 15,000 participants.
Sakura Matsuri - Japanese Street Festival
The largest Japanese cultural festival in the U.S., the Sakura Matsuri - Japanese Street Festival is an event for all ages. Enjoy live performances, food, merchandise and even martial arts demonstrations.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
The culmination of the three-weeks-long festival yields arguably its most popular event: the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. Catch everything from giant helium balloons to elaborate floats to live musical performances. Hunker down in the grandstand for $20; or, walk along the parade route for free.