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Adventures at the National Cherry Blossom Festival

This post is part 20 and the final installment of our Wednesday Adventure Series. Each week we will highlight something different in the Washington, D.C., Metro Area, many of which will be options for part of your own BookCrossing Journey. With so many things to see and do, how will you choose?


Choose wisely: Are you registered for the convention? If so, please fill out the Saturday Survey to let us know what you’re thinking about choosing on Saturday.


In 1912, Tokyo mayor Yukio Ozaki gave Washington, D.C., a gift of over 3,000 Japanese cherry trees to celebrate the friendship between the two nations. A group of American school children reenacted the event in 1927, and the first National Cherry Blossom Festival was held in 1935. Over the years, this annual commemorative has blossomed into one of the biggest events in the region.

The giving did not stop in 1912. In 1952, America got to return the favor to Japan by sending cherry tree budwood to help replenish the very grove in which many of the original gifted trees had been grown. First Lady Lady Bird Johnson accepted a gift of 3,800 more trees in 1965. Finally, in 1981, cuttings were sent to Japan to replace trees destroyed in a flood.

The festival kicks off with the Pink Tie Party at the Mayflower Hotel, and ends nearly three weeks later with the Cherry Blossom Family Bike Rally and Ride to support the American Diabetes Association. Other popular events include the Blossom Kite Festival, Opening Ceremony, the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival, fireworks, and the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. In addition, several musical and cultural events are planned throughout the city, much of which is free to attend.

The Tidal Basin is still lined with cherry trees today, offering plenty of lovely photo ops every spring. Picking the cherry blossoms is against federal law, so if you cannot resist you should consider planting your own tree.

The 2011 National Cherry Blossom Festival runs from March 26 to April 10, but most of the trees will still be in bloom during the BookCrossing Convention. Even if they’re not, you can always make your own.




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