The National Cherry Blossom Festival, one of Washington, DC’s most popular events of the year, will take place this year from March 26 to April 10. While peak blooming time of the cherry blossoms is estimated to occur this year from March 29 to April 3, there will certainly be plenty to do and see, from museum exhibits to galas to parades. In fact, dozens of events, including this awesome blossom photo contest, have been scheduled to coincide with the festivities. Below we have listed some highlights from the 2011 Cherry Blossom Festival. For a full schedule of events, visit the National Cherry Blossom Festival website.
When: March 26, 4-5:30pm
Pianist Keiko Matsui and the dance troupe TAKE Dance will kick-off the festivities with performances at the National Building Museum. Free.
When: April 8 and 9
See legendary DC musician Chuck Brown and other local talent perform at the Performance Stage at Sylvan Theater. Music starts daily at noon. Free.
Blossom Kite Festival
When: March 27, 10am-4pm
Head to the grounds below the Washington Monument to watch hundreds of kites whip and flutter through the air. Anyone can be a spectator or participant. Free.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
When: April 10, 10am
This Grand Marshal of this year’s parade will be actor Atticus Shaffer. Free along the parade route, $17 for grandstand seats.
Sakura Matsuri Street Festival
When: April 9, 11am-6pm
Visit the largest Japanese cultural street festival in the United States for food tastings, arts and crafts vendors, martial arts demonstrations, and live J-Pop performances on four stages. $5.
The Cherry Picks Restaurant Program
When: Throughout the festival
Chefs at dozens of restaurants throughout DC will create cherry-infused food and beverages. Main courses, cocktails, desserts, and more will be on the menu, and many participating restaurants will be providing free tastings of their cherry cuisine. Prices vary.
Image by National Cherry Blossom Festival