2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival Signature Events
**A Note About Tours During the Cherry Blossom Festival (March 20 - April 16)**
During the dates of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, I will continue leading my popular "Monumental sTOURies" tour on the select days listed on my Schedule page. During the Cherry Blossom Festival, on any of my tour dates that coincide with bloom, I will be offering to any and all of my guests the following extension of my Monumental sTOURies tour:
We will take an additional short walk to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial. We will explore this inspiring and moving memorial, which provides the perfect entrance and visual overview of the Japanese flowering trees and the Tidal Basin. From this final vantage point, I will be able to orient guests to the Tidal Basin area, as well as share ideas and suggestions so that you can further enjoy and celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
On these Festival dates, I would not recommend that my guests schedule other Festival activities to allow time for this extended tour as well as your own time to enjoy the Tidal Basin and the cherry trees.
When are the cherry trees in bloom?
Photo by Sara Keough
Forecasting the exact dates that the cherry blossoms are in bloom is very difficult to attempt in advance. Mother Nature decides when the trees are in bloom and it is inevitable that there will be dates during the official Cherry Blossom Festival dates that the trees are not in bloom. The total blooming period (before, during, and after) peak bloom usually lasts about 14 days.
For the best information and updates on this year's blooming forecast, check the 2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival website, specifically their official Bloom Watch page. This page also includes historical averages showing the specific dates of the different stages of bud development and bloom over the last 25 years. As the festival dates approach, this page will post and update the specific blooming forecast for this spring.
Full bloom is defined as when 70% of the blooms are open. The blooming period (when at least 20% of the blooms are open until the pink petals fall and the green leaves appear) typically lasts about 14 days total.
If you miss the blooming of the cherry trees, check out my "Gardens in DC" page which features some of the area's favorite historical points of interest.
Visit the 2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival Events page for a complete listing and description of all festival activities and signature events.
Here are a few specific dates and events:
March 24 - April 8: Dates featuring the official Festival Welcome Area and Performance Stage offered by the National Parks Service and its partners. The welcome area is located in the Tidal Basin paddle boat parking lot at 1501 Main Avenue, SW, and will provide a variety of performances as well as services including first aid, food pavilions, souvenirs, books, and more. The Welcome area is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., with performances daily from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
March 31: Blossom Kite Festival from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the grounds of the Washington Monument.
April 7: Petalpalooza - an all-day festival with music and entertainment followed be fireworks in the evening. Petalpalooza is located at 1100 Maine Ave SW, Washington DC 20024 at The Wharf on the Southwest Waterfront.
April 14: National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Streets.
Some fun and informative cherry blossom-related websites to check out:
* The official 2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival website
* The official blooming forecast page
* The National Parks Service's page for the 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival - when on this site, go to the "Plan Your Visit" tab and scroll down to both events and activities as well as ranger programs.
* The KidFriendly DC website
* My website's page on other Gardens and Horticultural points of interest in DC
This year's festival marks the 106th celebration of Tokyo, Japan's 1912 gift of over 3,000 cherry blossom trees to Washington, DC and the American people. The festival celebrates "Sakura," the annual blooming of the breathtaking cherry blossoms on the picturesque Tidal Basin. This year's festival spans a 4-week time period from March 20 through April 15.