April, Washington DC
NATIONAL CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual two-week event in Washington DC that celebrates springtime in the nations capital as well as the Gift in 1912 of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, honouring the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan.
In a simple ceremony on March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two trees from Japan on the north bank of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park.
In 1915, the United States Government reciprocated with a gift of flowering dogwood trees to the people of Japan.
A group of American school children re-enacted the initial planting in 1927 and the first "festival” was held in 1935, sponsored by civic groups in the Nation’s Capital.
First Lady Lady Bird Johnson accepted 3,800 more trees in 1965.
In 1981, the cycle of giving came full circle. Japanese horticulturists were given cuttings from the Washington DC trees to replace some cherry trees in Japan which had been destroyed in a flood.
The Festival was expanded to two weeks in 1994 to accommodate a diverse activity schedule during the trees’ blooming.
Today, more than a million people visit Washington, DC each year to admire the blossoming cherry trees and attend events that herald the beginning of spring in the Nation’s Capital.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival, Inc., a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, coordinates the schedule and raises funds to offer cultural and community-based events that are free and open to the public. Contributions to the National Cherry Blossom Festival are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Check the official web site at http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/ to find out the forecast for the peak bloom dates. The average date is April 4Photo: courtesy National Cherry Blossom Festival
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