Although the opening ceremony for the 2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., was March 25, the colder-than-average temperatures in the area this spring delayed the blooming of the cherry trees, which just hit their peak yesterday, April 5, a week and a half later than the past two years.
The National Park Service first predicted this year’s peak bloom would begin between March 17-20 because the initial stage of development, which is when a green color appears in the buds, began in late February.
Cherry trees are defined as being in their blooming period from the time 20 precent of the cherry tree blossoms are open until the petals fall off and leaves appear.
According to the National Cherry Blossom Festival website, the blooming period begins several days before the peak bloom date and may extend up to two weeks. Frost or high temperatures mixed with wind or rain can shorten this period, though.
But, no matter what stage of bloom you catch — day or night — each brings its own wonder. Whether it’s the vivid pink hue of the buds just before they erupt, the lovely soft pink of the blossomed cherry trees, or the bright white petals falling from the the branches and coating the ground like a layer of soft snow, the sight is one to behold.
The 2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival, which began on March 20 and continues through April 15, offers diverse, creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty and community spirit.
One of the country’s premier springtime celebrations, this year marks the 106th anniversary of Tokyo’s gift of cherry blossom trees to the United States in honor of lasting friendship.
Winding down the 2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival are Petalpalooza on April 7 and the festival’s highly anticipated parade on April 14.
Petalpalooza, formerly known as the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival, is a free-admission 8 1/2-hour fun-filled celebration held at the District Wharf, aka The Wharf, Washington’s newest half-mile-long waterfront destination located on Maine Avenue.
This inaugural event will feature live music on three outdoor stages, interactive art installations, games and activities, a fireworks display, beer garden, product giveaways and more.
The following Saturday, the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, one of Washington, D.C.’s largest spectator events, will head down Constitution Avenue for 10 blocks.
With its giant, brightly colored helium-filled balloons, ornate floats, marching bands from around the country, celebrity entertainers and performers — including Arrested Development, Ty Herndon and Well-Strung — the exciting, over-the-top parade is sure to once again create a grand spectacle that’ll be enjoyed by all its spectators.
If you’re in Las Vegas and hoping to get a peak at some cherry blossoms, believe it or not, there are a few spots where you can spy them, including Tivoli Village, next to Summerlin; the legendary Peppermill Restaurant and Fireside Lounge, which has been frequented by many celebrities throughout the years, on Las Vegas Boulevard South and Convention Center Drive; and award-winning chef Akira Back’s Kumi Restaurant + Bar inside Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.