Fourth Estate/Madalyn Godfrey

This year, celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.


Touches of white and pink descend from the trees onto the gravel sidewalk of the National Mall as the gentle breeze lifts a rainbow of kites in the bright blue sky. Spring has arrived in the nation’s capital, marking the beginning of the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival.

With a multitude of events and almost four thousand cherry blossoms in bloom, this is a must-see festival for Mason students.

The Blossom Kite Festival on March 30 kicks off this celebration with hundreds of kites flying and traditional Japanese drumming around the Washington Monument. Free for all to be amazed, Mason students can either sit back and watch performances delivered by Mr. Mikio Toki, a master of traditional Edo-style kites or join in the fun by flying their kites and participating in friendly competitions. 

But if kites serve no interest, then the event lineups of April 6 might.

Start the Saturday morning with either a nice walk or a run. Occurring are the Annual National Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk and the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 5K & 10 Mile Runs.

Although entries for the annual Credit Union Cherry Blossoms 5K & 10 Mile Runs are closed, students can still run or walk alongside the two courses for fun or even spectate and cheer on friends on the courses.

In the afternoon is Blossoms and Baseball at the National Stadium. Students may verify their student status and receive a discount to enjoy the fun as the Washington Nationals play against their biggest rival, the Philadelphia Phillies.

After the game, students of all ages may head downtown to Dupont Circle 17th Street for Cherry Blossom Kimonos and Cocktails Happy Hour. Serving signature cherry blossom-themed cocktails and mocktails, students can vote for the best drink to win a “people’s choice award.”

Before the night is over, students can finish their day at the Capitol Riverfront with Petalpalooza, and listen to live music while enjoying the official National Cherry Blossom Festival fireworks show.

While this is only one full day of events, Saturday, April 13, holds even more.

From 10 a.m. to noon, the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade makes its grand appearance on Constitution Avenue with a colorful display of floats, performances and balloons.

During the parade, the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival takes over Pennsylvania Avenue from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the largest celebration of Japanese culture, including music, food, artisans, exhibitors and innovation. It is recommended that those attending the festival arrive before noon or after 3 p.m. to avoid long lines and a huge crowd from the parade.

Although the Japanese street festival marks the end of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, students can continue enjoying the cherry blossoms until June 1, after their bloom is over. ARTECHOUSE studio hosts Blooming Parallel Worlds, a digital art feature exhibiting cherry blossoms through the rest of the springtime season.

While the cherry blossoms on campus are quite wonderful, take the time over the next few weekends to enjoy Washington D.C. and its festivities, and be amazed by the beauty of the cherry blossoms.

More information about this year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival may be found on their official website.