Everything You Need to Know About National Cherry Blossom Festival, DC
Washington D.C is indeed a place to be for anyone looking to have fun. Formally the District of Columbia, this capital of the United States was founded after the American Revolution and named after George Washington. For this reason, it was founded as the seat of government when the country gained independence.
It is the home of the famous Cherry Blossom festival. Among many things to enjoy in Washington, visit the town during the Cherry Blossom season, and you will have the best time. This is an amazing sight to behold.
But before you travel here for the same, there are a few things to you need to know.
What is the History of Cherry Blossom Trees and Washington?
Many people only know about the cherry blossoms trees from the time it was officially planted. But its history dates decades before this time. The idea to plant the trees it was presented to the US Army Superintended of the Office of Public Buildings and Grounds by Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore in 1885.
She became the first female board member and continued to push for the initiative to plant the trees. During the period, several cherry trees were planted. The cherry blossom viewing and tea party in Northwest DC in 1905 marked a very important period in the history of the trees as well.
In 1906, more cherry trees came in as David Fairchild, who was also a visitor at the tea party, imported 1000 cherry trees from Japan. This is how the Fairchild began promoting the planting of the trees in 1907 by donating cherry saplings to every school in DC. They were to plant in their grounds in observance of the Arbor Day.
It was later on in 1908, that Fairchild proposed, during an Arbor Day attended by Scidmore, that 'Speedway' be made and Field of Cherries. Speedway is now the non-existing route around Tidal Basin in Washington.
This prompted Scidmore to raise money the following year and bought trees to donate to the district. She wrote a letter on April 5 to inform the First Lady Helen Herron Taft about her plan.
Coincidentally, the Japanese chemist who discovered adrenaline, Jokichi Takamine was in DC. He was in the company of Mr. Midzuno as the Japanese consul to New York on April 8th. They donated 2000 cherry trees in the name of Tokyo.
Spencer Cosby, who was then the superintendent of the Office of Buildings and Grounds bought 90 more trees on April 13. They were planted along the Potomac River. In 1909, 2000 more cherry trees came from Japan and were to be planted along the Potomac. It was never to be as it could destroy the projects of farmers, according to the department of agriculture.
President Taft burned the trees on January 28th, but the order never stood the Japanese ambassador donated more to total 3020. They arrived in DC on February 14, 1912.
From 1912 to 1920, trees of the Somei-Yoshino were planted along the Tidal Basin. The US government responded to the donations by gifting flowering dogwood trees to the Japan people.
The Cherry Blossom Festival
The first cherry blossom festival was organized in late 1934, sponsored by numerous civic groups. In 1938, some trees were to be cut down to give way for the Jefferson Memorial. But it was not so as more trees were planted. Most of the Nation's capital already had the trees, and the cherry blossom festival became an annual event.
Even though four trees were cut down in 1941 in what was alleged to be a retaliation to the bombing of the Pearl Harbor, it never stopped the festival as there was no clear proof. In 1934, the festival was extended to two weeks to accommodate more people.
Today, more people from around the world as flowing into DC to witness this spectacular moment. It is organized by the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Inc. More than 700,00o come to Washington for the festival that begins around mid-March for three weeks.
What Monuments Can You See Cherry Blossom Trees?
The most popular places to see the cherry blossom is from the Tidal Basin. Here you will find the Jefferson Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
But if you cannot make it to such places, there are small clusters along the National Mall, northwest of the Lincoln Memorial. You can also find the trees around the Washington Monument.
Other cherries not on the radar can be found at the National Arboretum, Anacostia Park, Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown, as well as in Stanton and Oxon Run Parks.
What Type of Cherry Trees in Washington DC?
Different types of cherry blossoms trees are found in the nation's capital. Here is a list of the ten most popular ones:
When is the Best Time to See the Cherry Trees Blossom in Washington DC?
It is important to know the exact time when the cherries are going to bloom. You should plan to visit DC during such a time to enjoy the view.
The cherry blossom blooming takes place in a relatively brief window. In a week or two, the trees bloom from simple buds to beautiful flowers falling off and replaced by green leaves.
It could be great if one is certain of the time. However, you can never be sure since the dates change year to year. The first forecast is given by the National Park Services around the first week of March. This means you should start planning to visit DC from the last week of March to the first week of April. You will not see the cherry blossoms any day later than this.
Why Did Japan Give Us Cherry Blossom Trees?
In 1912, Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gifted 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington. At this time, the relationship between the United States and Japan was taking deep roots.
Every year, the National Cherry Blossom is held to commemorate this gesture. The close friendship between the two countries has never reduced ever since. Even though four trees were cut in 1941 when the Pearl Harbor was bombed. But that never stopped more trees from coming into the country.
Are there Other cherry Blossom Trees in the US?
The first place in the US to receive the cherry trees was Washington. Its history dates long before the cherry blossom festival started. Besides, DC is the most popular place to see trees.
It is therefore easy to assume that the trees are only in DC. But as it turns out, it is not. Macon, Georgia, also has a vast number and a wide variety of cherry trees. There is 300,000 blooming Yoshino cherry, many of which are at the Central City Park. If you cannot make it to Washington therefore, find out the blooming season for the Georgian town and you will get the same experience.
Why is it Called Cherry Blossom?
The cherry is a special flower for the people of Japan and the country at large. It is known as Sakura. They are a symbolic flower of the spring that signifies the renewal and fleeting nature of life.
Their life is very short as their beauty peaks for around two weeks only before they begin falling off. During this period, people like to eat and party with friends and family. The blossoming makes people merry by eating, drinking, and barbecuing under the cherry blossoms.
The custom is called hanami, which means "watching blossoms." The tradition has been around for thousands of years before it was even shared with the US.
It is a chance for people to bond and make new friends. There are welcome parties in schools and offices going into the nights. You will find viewing spots crowded with people enjoying the view. If you are looking for a romantic atmosphere, this is one of the moods you don't want to miss on.
What Does Sakura Mean?
Sakura is the Japanese term for ornamental cherry blossom trees and their blossoms. Sakura is a symbol of clouds in the way they bloom. It is also a metaphor for the nature of life-the Japanese associate it with the Buddhist influence embodied in the mono no aware concept.
Sakura and mono no aware have proved association dating back to the 18th century, the time of scholar Motoori Norinaga. The way the flower transience with extreme beauty and quick death is associated with mortality. They have been utilized in Japanese art, manga, anime, and film among other cultures.
How Long Will Cherry Blossoms Last?
If you are planning to visit Washington for the cherry blossom season, you may want to plant well into the right dates. The season is relatively a short one. It takes less than two weeks for the whole cycle to be complete. Full bloom, known as mankai happens a week after the first blossoms (kaika). A week from here, the blooming peak is done, and blooms start falling from the trees.
If there are strong winds and rain, the blooming season is cut even shorter. Within three weeks, the whole process will be over, and the cycle begins again.
What Are the Major Events at Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington DC?
2019 National Cherry Blossom Festival is around the corner. Those who stay up-to-date with the events have a better chance of getting everything out of it. It is time for family-friendly activities, exciting events, and fundraisers. Major events include:
March 15-April 13
Date Day Time Event Location
March 16, Thu, 7 am - 11 pm - Pink Tie Party, Location: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
March 30, Sat, 5 - 6:30 pm - Opening Ceremony, Location: Warner Theatre along the 513 13th Street, NW
March 30, Sat, 10 am - 4:30 pm - Blossom Kite Festival, Location: Washington Monument grounds near 1th Street and constitution avenue, NW.
April 6, Sun, 12 - 9:30 pm - Petal Palooza, Location: The Wharf.
April 6, Sat, 8:30 pm - Fireworks display and festival, Location: The Wharf/Titanic memorial
April 13, Sat, 10 am - noon - National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade Presented by Events DC, Location: Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Streets, NW.
Where Can You See All the Cherry Blossom Trees Bloom in Washington DC?
The Tidal Basin is the most popular location to visit the cherry blossom trees during the festival. If you are looking for a chance to take great photos, then this is the place to be. It provides an excellent view of the Jefferson Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial as well as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.
A large number of the blossoms are at the Tidal Basin along the East Potomac Park shoreline. But there are small clusters along National Mall and the Washington Monument. Some other hidden trees are found at the National Arboretum.
Things to Know About the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC
First, the cherry tree blossoms different times year to year. On average, the peak bloom date is in April. The whole period may take about two weeks, after which it is all normal. The best time to see them is during the first four to seven days after peak blooming commences.
You can see the cherry blossoms better during the National Cherry Blossom Festival in the Tidal Basin.
There is no bad time to visit blossoms. Any time of the day brings out a great view. For those who want some silence, the mornings are less busy. The weekends are always parked.
Before you come here, consider the exciting events and activities mentioned above. The National Cherry Blossom Festival covers the whole city. You can enjoy great discounts and deals on hotels, with many offering free cocktail, meals and other goodies.
Where to Stay in Washington DC?
You need to identify cheap and budget-friendly places to stay. Luckily, some hotels offer great discounts during the festivals. Less expensive places near Tidal Basin include:
• Mandarin Oriental 5-star hotel
• The Wharf (InterContinental, Hyatt House, Canopy by Washington DC)
Consider nice hotels in Downtown Washington as well. Places such as Willard, Hay-Adams, and Jefferson are great. Then there are family and budget-friendly hotels like Harrington and Hampton Inn.
Foggy Bottom and DuPont Circle/Adams Morgan also provide excellent accommodation options. The hotels fill up because of the proximity to the cherry blossom, just like those in Tidal Basin and Downtown.
Another place to find accommodation includes Capitol Hill, Georgetown, Northern Virginia, Arlington and Alexandria.
Where to Eat in Washington DC?
Here are six best restaurants near the National Cherry Blossoms Festival:
• El Challan
• G Street Food
• Habebe Fresh Healthy food
• Sweet Home Cafe
• United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Cafe
• Round Robin Bar
Top Things To See and Do at National Cherry Blossom Festival in in Washington DC Guide