Celebrate the beauty of cherry blossom season in Washington DC, with some equally beautiful and delicious culinary treats.
We are already in the middle of the month-long cherry blossom festival in Washington, D.C., but the pink part is just getting started, and the blossoms are expected to be in full bloom by April 8th. Celebrate one of the capital’s most beautiful spectacles with a visit to some of the blossom-inspired tasting menus at D.C.’s popular restaurants, and the culinary events that will be causing a stir until the festival closes on April 13th.
Get an authentic Japanese experience with the Grand Sake Tasting at Carnegie Library located at 801 K Street, NW on April 3rd. Tickets to taste some of the world’s rarest and most expensive sake cost $150.
Of course Georgetown Cupcake will be bringing back their popular cherry blossom cupcake creation: a classic Madagascar bourbon and vanilla cupcake baked with fresh cherries and topped with a cherry infused cream cheese frosting and a fondant cherry blossom
The Hay-Adams Lafayette Restaurant, across the street from The White House, will be serving their cherry blossom menu until April 11th which will feature dishes like charred scallop sashimi with pickled cherries, toasted almonds and soya.
The famous Italian restaurant chain Carmine’s will be serving cherry blossom punch and traditional zeppoles with a cherry dipping sauce for dessert. Daikaya, the ramen shop located at 705 6th St. NW, will be serving spring-inspired cherry blossom cocktails like the Bark & Bite Fizz which is Lento Kokuto brown sugar shochu (Japanese liquor made from sake dregs) and wild cherry phosphate soda garnished with a lemon peel. Jose Andres is getting into the pink spirit too and has drawn up a special menu for his tapas restaurant, Jaleo, where he will be serving, amongst other things, a wild red berry soup with Idiazábal cheese ice cream.
Get the full list of participating restaurants here
Can’t pick one restaurant? Why not try several with the Official 2014 Cherry Blossom Food Tours in Old Town Alexandria, Georgetown, and Capitol Hill where you’ll explore chefs’ favorite dishes from around the capital based on Japanese cuisine or cherry-inspired/infused dishes.
Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi
Here's When the Washington D.C. Cherry Blossoms Will Be at Peak Bloom
Find out the ideal time frame for viewing these gorgeous flowers, either virtually or in person.
The official kickoff of spring is just a few weeks away the vernal equinox is Saturday, March 20. But many people across the country already see signs of sweet springtime. The temperatures are rising (fingers crossed for no more frigid days), and early-blooming flowers are starting to pop up in gardens. And in just a few weeks, we&aposll be able to celebrate one of the most beautiful events of the season, the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Each year, the National Park Service (NPS) reveals the peak bloom date when 70% of the Yoshino cherry trees bloom. The NPS predicts that the peak bloom for this year will be from Friday, April 2, to Monday, April 5.
The prediction is based on upcoming weather conditions and the bud development of the cherry trees so far. Bud development is classified into six stages: Green buds appearing on the trees, florets becoming visible, florets extending, peduncle (or stem) elongation, puffy white flowers emerging, and finally peak bloom. In the past, the cherry trees have reached peak bloom as early as March 20 in 2012 or as late as April 9 in 2005 and 2013. In 2017, about half of the blossoms were lost before peak bloom after a late frost happened in mid-March, underlining how tricky it can be to predict the trees’ development.
It's cherry blossom season, but DC isn't ready to open up
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
A person photographs Yoshino cherry trees that are in full bloom around the Tidal Basin in Washington, Tuesday, March 30, 2021. The 2021 National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the original gift of 3,000 cherry trees from the city of Tokyo to the people of Washington in 1912. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
WASHINGTON – Officials in the nation's capital are watching the crowds as cherry blossom season begins in earnest.
The distinctive white and pink petals reached full bloom last Sunday, about a week earlier than expected. It's an event that normally brings in thousands of visitors and signals the unofficial start of D.C.'s peak tourist and convention season.
But Washington remains largely locked down because of the coronavirus pandemic, with limitations on outdoor gatherings and Smithsonian museums and galleries and its National Zoo shuttered.
“We’re starting to open slowly,” said Cherry Blossom Festival President Diana Mayhew. “We really hope that people are being smart. We’ve all gone through enough this past year that we don’t want to revert back.”
The National Park Service stands poised to limit access to the Tidal Basin and its high concentration of cherry blossom trees if the crowds there grow too thick.
Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said local virus metrics have been encouraging, but vigilance was still the order of the day.
“The numbers have all been moving in the right direction for the last couple of months, but the last thing we want to do is let our guard down, have enormous crowds at the Tidal Basin, and then all of a sudden start to see things swing back up again,” he said.
Litterst said that so far the crowds have been manageable and well-behaved. But the park service will be watching the area around the Jefferson Memorial to make sure no choke points are forming and social distancing can be maintained.
“Cherry blossom season is our Super Bowl. We take care of these trees all year long. We plan events with our partners. We get ready, and to show off those 3,700 trees every year is the highlight of our year,” Litterst said. “So to not have that opportunity for a second year in a row is certainly heartbreaking, it’s bittersweet. But again, we are confident in our decision, knowing that we are doing the right thing to help us long-term get out of this pandemic.”
Last year's cherry blossom preparations fell under the looming shadow of the fast-advancing pandemic threat, with organizers holding optimistic press conferences even as it became increasingly clear the show would not go on. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency on March 11, 2020, nine days before the Cherry Blossom Festival's start date.
Officials like Litterst, Mayhew and others had to abruptly shift as many events as possible online while openly warning people to stay away. This year, festival organizers say they've had time to prepare in addition to encouraging enthusiasts to check out the bloom-cam livestream, they've been planning a host of what Mayhew called “hybrid programming where people can have a personal experience and really get involved in the festival.”
For example: Officials have commissioned 26 sculptures depicting giant cherry blossom flowers, large enough to sit on and painted by local artists, around the city. Residents are encouraged to track down all 26, scattered around all eight wards of the city, and post the photos on social media.
The festival is also sponsoring what it calls a Petal Porch Parade, encouraging residents of D.C., southern Maryland and northern Virginia to decorate their porches in cherry blossoms, then mark the site on a virtual map that people can incorporate into their own bicycle or walking tours.
“We are working very hard to make sure that is not an all-virtual festival,” Mayhew said. “The community IS the festival this year.”
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
Washington, DC’s Cherry Blossoms – Experience Them From Home This Year
Washington DC is a great city any time of the year, but it especially so in spring when the cherry blossom trees bloom.
A visit to Washington DC is always great, with its many monuments, museums, art galleries and more. However, one of the best times to visit is in spring when the cherry blossom trees bloom. Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival is held here. The festival is even happening this year, with a series of “hybrid” and online events amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
You Can Experience Washington DC’s Cherry Blossoms Without Leaving Home
The National Cherry Blossom Festival runs from mid-March to mid-April. The month-long festival normally celebrates the arrival of spring with hundreds of special exhibitions and performances. There are also paddle boat rides in the Tidal Basin, cultural fairs, a parade, evening strolls by lantern light and a final, incredible fireworks display.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things are different this year. The restrictions on large gatherings have urged park service officials to tell people to stay home this year. However, they will still be able to enjoy the sight of pink and white cherry blossoms online via BloomCam.
How Did The National Cherry Blossom Festival Come To Be?
The annual, month-long event commemorates a gift of 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington in 1912 by the Mayor of Tokyo, Yukio Ozaki. On March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Iwa Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador, planted the first two cherry trees on the north bank of the Tidal Basin.
Thanks to the support of several civil groups in Washington DC, the Cherry Blossom Festival expanded in 1935. By this time, the cherry blossoms were a trademark for the city. However, in 1965, First Lady “Lady Bird” Johnson accepted 3,800 more trees making the city even more beautiful in the spring.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Now
In normal years, it is estimated that more than 1.5 million people attend the festival. Depending on the weather conditions, the National Park Service expects the peak bloom for the cherry blossoms to take place between April 2 and 5 this year. Experts define the day on which 70 percent of the Yoshino cherry trees surrounding the Tidal Basin open their blossom as being the peak bloom date.
However, this year visitors are urged to avoid descending in droves on the area due to the restrictions on large gatherings.
For those who do attend, there is a 10-mile run, a 3-mile run/walk or a half-mile children’s run to enjoy among the hosts of pink and white blossoms. However, this year those at home can experience a 3.3-mile virtual tour and a 360-degree bike ride experience online instead.
Toy Museums – 3 Of The Best In The World
Other attractions in DC’s eight wards include 25 blossom-themed art sculptures, designed by local artists. The traditional petal porch parade and processions will be held as mini-versions in different neighborhoods of the city.
Even the highly popular Pink Tie Party will be virtual this year, as well as the Blossom Kite Festival. In the latter, normally, kites of all shapes and sizes are flown on the public field next to the Washington Monument. However, this year, participants will fly their kites in their neighborhood park or their own backyard.
Actress Drew Barrymore will be hosting a nationally-syndicated TV show with celebrity performances. Diana Mayhew, president and CEO of the festival, said, “In keeping with the festival tradition we will unite the city and the region, engaging local businesses and restaurants and we’ll be in bloom with pink lighting and blossom decor.”
While it may be disappointing for many people who usually enjoy the National Cherry Blossom Festival in person, those who normally wouldn’t be able to travel there will also be able to experience the beauty this year. The festival will run from March 20 through April 11. Check the full list of events and online offerings on the National Cherry Blossom Festival website
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- Cherry Blossom Festival Fort Wayne - mid May each year (May 20 in 2018)
900 Library Plz, Fort Wayne, IN 46802. Email: [email protected] . Directions: Click here for a map and directions. Payment: Cash, only. Click here for our Facebook page. . Come and enjoy Japanese music, dance, food, haiku, anime,cosplay, tea ceremony, martial arts and much more. Everyone is welcome. cherries, produce for sale, parking provide free, gift shop, snacks and refreshment stand, musical entertainment, restrooms, Tents or other provisions are made for bad weather, FREE admission, What do you think of when you hear "Japan"? Cherry blossoms, kimono-clad ladies, exotic musical instruments, chopsticks, sushi, samurai, martial arts, tea ceremony, origami, silk, anime characters, bonsai trees. The Fort Wayne Cherry Blossom Festival has it all
- The National Cherry Festival - end of June through early July - see their website for this years dates.
Traverse City, MI. Events calendar. Celebrating 80 years with parades, competitive events, fun events, children's events, food, arts and crafts, car and truck show, and air show and new events including a feast of cherries and local wines and a world record attempt to host the world's largest cherry pancake breakfast
- Eau Claire Cherry Festival - always on the 4th of July.
Eau Claire CherryEau Claire Cherry, MI. Festival is a small town community that celebrates big for the 4th of July and the cherries that grow around Eau Claire Michigan with fireworks. There is also a Cherry Festival Art & Craft - Flea Market. on May 6th (Sunday) 11am - 4pm.
Please note: Tickets for blossom bash have been rolled over to Summerfest Dc on July 18th
Capital BrewFest: Blossom Bash is coming up on Saturday, April 25th in DC’s Navy Yard! Come kick off the outdoor festival season and soak up the sun at DC’s only Cherry Blossom Beer & Wine Festival!
We have 100+ of the most amazing seasonal beers, wines & ciders — plus music, amazing food, games, vendors and more! Choose from either session: Session One is from 1 to 4 p.m. and Session Two is from 5-8 p.m. VIP tickets get 30 minutes early entry to each session!
We enjoy UNLIMITED TASTES of more than 50 beers — the very best Spring seasonal craft beers just coming out from your favorite breweries from right here in the mid-Atlantic and all across the country!
Oh, how about music, amazing food choices, outdoor games, college football on the big screen, fantastic vendors and more!
Choose from either session: Session One is from 1 to 4 p.m. and Session Two is from 5-8 p.m. VIP tickets get 30 minutes early entry!
Buy your tickets right now, prices go up every week and each session will sell out!
Inspired by the annual cherry blossom season and utilizing the power of creative technology, Renewal 2121 seeks to inspire hope amid a global pandemic and concerns of climate change.
Transporting us 100 years into the future, it immerses us in an industrial city where nature fights to survive amid an overdeveloped metropolis. This is a future that will arrive if humanity continues unchecked at its current pace.
However, there is a hopeful message to be discovered as blossoms are seen peeking through the plastic, concrete and neon lights, ready to renew the season with the help of those willing to take action.
ARTECHOUSE presents this original production from their Creative Team with visual design by Yuya Takeda, music by Mario Hammer and the Lonely Robot, and scenery by Design Foundry.
Explore Mario Hammer and the Lonely Robot’s album “Enveloppé”, including tracks featured in Renewal 2121.
The Opening Ceremony
The festival will kick off with an opening ceremony on March 20th, featuring performances from artists with ties to both the U.S. and Japan. The co-hosts include ABC 7's Michelle Marsh and Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi.
Performances at the event include:
Matsumoto Arigasaki Senior High School Japanese Calligraphy Club
You can RSVP virtually for the broadcasted livestream happening on Saturday, March 20 at 6:00 p.m EST.
How to track the bloom
The Yoshino cherry is the most abundant variety, making up the vast majority of the 3,700 trees managed by the National Park Service around the Tidal Basin, East Potomac Park, and the Washington Monument, where they're planted. (There are 12 species in total, with a single trunk each for the Okame and Shirofugen.) The season is based around their bloom cycle this year is shaping up to be a few weeks behind 2020. As of March 22, pretty pink buds were appearing, and peak bloom—the day when 70 percent of the Yoshino blossoms are open—was predicted between April 2 and 5. (Last year it happened on March 20.)
Forecasting begins once the trees reach dormancy early in the year, and draws on historic documentation, near and long-term forecasts, and plant cycles, says the NPS. The delicate Yoshinos bloom for several days, but their lifespan is impacted by the weather—temperate climates can lengthen it, while wind can end it. So, have reduced crowds had an impact? Not really, notes Mike Litterst, chief of communications for the National Mall and Memorial Parks. “The blossoms should be the same size and volume as previous years.” The stages are recorded on the NPS’ website, and the BloomCam gives you around-the-clock opportunities to moon over the sight.
Washington D.C.'s Cherry Blossom Trees Are In Serious Jeopardy
The recent winter storm has severely damaged many of the blooms.
The famous cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. began blooming weeks ahead of schedule this year after a series of unusually warm days in February. But the severe winter storm earlier this week could mean disaster for the pink flowers.
Cherry blossoms coated with ice. Pretty to look at, but please let it melt naturally shaking can cause damage and breakage to the tree. pic.twitter.com/saW2yycILL&mdash National Mall NPS (@NationalMallNPS) March 14, 2017
"We had this real mild winter to bring the blossoms out early," Mike Litterst, spokesperson for the National Park Service, told the New York Times. "Then when they were at their most vulnerable, here comes Old Man Winter to crash the party."
The National Park Service had already pushed back its peak bloom prediction due to the recent cold snap. The weather forecast also forced organizers to reschedule the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Originally planned for Wednesday March 15, the welcome area for the annual festival will now open on Saturday March 18.
Due to snow, Paddles isn't the busy beaver he'd like to be in setting up the cherry blossom welcome area opening day will now be Sat. pic.twitter.com/SEZM4BpBiu&mdash National Mall NPS (@NationalMallNPS) March 14, 2017
Unfortunately, the damage to the cherry blossoms was worse than predicted. Now experts are trying to figure out how many of the delicate flowers will bloom at all.
Indoor warmth forces these early stage blossoms to bloom, helping us determine the effect of the recent cold weather. #BloomWatch #Science pic.twitter.com/9Q7xSZD9WR&mdash National Mall NPS (@NationalMallNPS) March 15, 2017
"The number of cherry trees that reach the blossom stage may be reduced as a result of the recent cold temperatures," Litterst wrote in a statement on the NPS website.
We really hope the cherry blossoms can pull through&mdashand in the meantime, we'll be staring at gorgeous photos of the flowers already flourishing in Japan.