A Guide to the 2021 National Cherry Blossom Festival
By Amy Lusignan
As the weather warms up in the DC area, the cherry blossoms will be in full bloom soon. Originally given as a gift from Japan to the United States in 1912, these cherry blossoms represent the lasting friendship between the two countries. Thousands of people normally visit DC every spring to see the beautiful trees in blossom. However, this year the National Cherry Blossom is encouraging festival goers to “blossom safely” and will host numerous virtual and pandemic-friendly events. Here’s a guide to the various cherry blossom events that will be happening in Washington D.C. this year.
Every year, the festival’s Opening Ceremony features talented artists with connections to both Japan and the United States. This year, the festival’s Opening Ceremony will be presented virtually by Kristi Yamaguchi, an Olympic Gold Medalist, and ABC 7’s Michelle Marsh. The ceremony will still have performances from award-winning artists and performers. Free to watch, the event will be on March 20 at 6 PM EST. Watchers will have to per-register on the official National Cherry Blossom Festival’s webiste.
On the same date, walkers around DC will be able to find various 26 cherry blossom inspired art sculptures scattered throughout the area.
For the first time, cherry blossom cams will be available online on the National Cherry Blossom’s website, giving everyone a chance to see the blossoms at peak bloom. As of March 1, the National Park Service predicted that peak bloom this year will be from April 2 to April 5.
Unfortunately, there won’t be a National Cherry Blossom parade. But instead, the organizers encourage neighborhoods to participate in the “Petal Porch Parade.” If neighborhoods register by March 15, the best dressed springtime neighborhood porches can win a chance to have the inaugural Petal Procession come through the area. The festival also mentions that from March 20-April 11, they will have a map of all the neighborhoods that participated so walkers can plan a trip to see the porch decorations. Another outdoor event that people can sign up for are online kite-building demos and workshops, which will start on March 15. All these events can be registered for on the National Cherry Blossom’s website.
The last two virtual events are the “Pink Tie Party” and the “Celebration Show.” The Pink Tie Party will be a virtual party that people can sign up for. Tickets will run from $100-130 and include “three-course carryout dinners from your choice of popular D.C., Maryland and Virginia restaurants, a Party Kit filled with goodies to enhance your celebration, and a chance to win great prizes.” Popular radio hosts Tommy McFly and Kelly Collis will host the night of fun.
The Celebration Show will be a family-friendly TV special that celebrates the DC area in bloom. Premiering locally on WJLA-TV (ABC 7) on Saturday, April 10 at 12 Noon. The event is free and doesn’t require registration.