The National Cherry Blossom Festival will take place this year from March 20- April 11. (Courtesy Photo)

By Sharece Crawford
Special to the AFRO

The AFRO got a behind the scenes look at some of the 2021 featured Cherry Blossom experiences. The global tourist attraction, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, is now taking place virtually — from the comfort of one’s living room from March 20 – April 11, 2021. With the pandemic, the beloved tradition of celebrating springtime in the nation’s capital returns in a whole new way.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival’s signature opening ceremony will feature an artistic celebration of the 1912 gift of trees from Tokyo to Washington, D.C., and an annual tribute to the longstanding friendship between Japan and the United States. Next you is the hunt for 25 giant cherry blossom sculptures flourishing throughout the D.C. area. Featuring the artwork of local and national artists, participants can engage with the icons for a chance to win prizes, and can also take time out to enjoy the Blossom Kite Fly, the pink tie party and the petal porch parade. There will also be a special Festival Celebration Show presented by Events DC.

Although the National Park Service is still working with the CDC for health regulations for social distancing at the festival, local business owners are counting on visitors patronizing their business owners to stay above float. Many Black owned businesses have been forced to close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Now more than ever the Festival is encouraging support of local D.C. establishments,” said D.C. Council member Kenyan McDuffie (D- Ward 5).

“I encourage everyone to support the 170 restaurants participating in the Cherry picks program throughout the festival. The District still has a ton to offer and we’re thrilled to be able to join everyone to commemorate the 2021 National Cherry Blossom Festival,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Chief of Staff John Falcicchio.

From viewing magical retail window displays, to ordering takeout from excellent restaurants, retailers and vendors are looking forward to an economic comeback.

Ian Callender, a local culture curator, said he is happy to join as a sponsor via Arena Social and is looking forward to participating in this year’s festival. “I’m really excited to see more diversity and investments in native artists,” Callender told the AFRO.

Among the major sponsors of this year’s festival is Events DC and the District’s soon to be new neighbor, Amazon. Residents say they look forward to Amazon sponsoring more social impact events to help rebuild the economy.

The 2021 Festival invites residents, visitors and fans from across the globe to “step into spring” with a diverse variety of experiences that include both virtual and personal elements while prioritizing the health and safety of everyone involved.

Local Lawmakers are working overtime to ensure access to vaccines for all of its residents to protect them from any outside threats. McDuffie, stated that “vaccine equity means meeting our vulnerable neighbors where they are and removing barriers to access for everyone.”

“The National Cherry Blossom Festival this year will not be safe for thousands of people to gather as we have in years past,” Falcicchio told the AFRO.

“We want residents and other Americans to still fully embrace the beauty and rich history of the cherry blossoms,” Falcicchio added.  “This year I’m excited that the festival will bring the celebration to the homes of residents in all eight Wards,” Falcicchio said.  

“On behalf of Mayor Bowser I want to thank Diana and her team again for all of their work to make us look as good as they do each and every year and we look forward to our residents and visitors to join us from around the world virtually this year for the National Cherry Blossom Festival,” the Mayor’s Chief of Staff added.