Monday, October 3, 2011

2012 Cherry Blossom Festival: Bigger & Better

Cherry Blossom Family Day Festival 2008
This cold snap may have you thinking about impending winter weather, but I'm going to ask you to go even a little further into the future. Next spring, the National Cherry Blossom Festival will mark the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Japanese cherry trees to Washington, DC. And next year's celebration will be anything but normal.

Organizers have lengthened the festival to a full 5 weeks: March 20-April 27. That's up from two weeks. First Lady Michelle Obama has been recruited as the honorary chair. The Postal Service will release a 100th Anniversary stamp to mark the occasion. And the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial will be framed with in-bloom  cherry trees for the first time since its completion. There are other changes as well.

The opening ceremony will be moved to a large venue; the Walter Washington Convention Center (March 25th). And the associated Family Day will still be at the National Building Museum, but expanded to two days (March 24-25). The vaunted Cherry Blossom Parade will occur later, on April 14. That's the same day as my favorite Cherry Blossom event, Sakura Matsuri! That's the Japanese street festival. Food, dance performances, lots of great outfits and costumes; more. Check the early details for the full list of events here.

Even as the temps drop on the march to winter, keep in mind this 5 weeks of spring fun marking a friendship between Japan and the United States.