The blooming of the cherry trees around the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. has come to symbolize the natural beauty of our nation's capital city. Hundreds of thousands of city residents and visitors from across the nation and around the world come here to witness the spectacle, hoping that the trees will be at the peak of bloom for the Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington, D.C.'s rite of spring.
The famous trees, a gift from Japan in 1912, signal the coming of Spring with an explosion of life and color surrounding the Jefferson Memorial on the Tidal Basin in a sea of pink and white. Exactly when the buds will open is not an easy question to answer, but the National Park Service Regional Horticulturalist Robert DeFeo has been fairly accurate in his forecasts over the past several years. Once the buds begin to expand in late February, they can be monitored and the days counted before they can be expected to bloom. The forecast is based upon the weather forecast, and close inspection to determine the stage of bud development.
Washington's most famous spring fling offers daily entertainment, guided walks, art shows, photo safaris, river cruises and kids' programs. Popular free events include music and fireworks at the Southwest Marina April 5 from 5 to 9; the stone lantern lighting ceremony April 6 from 2:30 to 4; and the Cherry Blossom Parade April 12 from 10 to noon and Sakura Matsuri street fest from 11 to 6. www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.