By George Kevin Jordan, AFRO Staff Writer
Cherry blossoms are more than those beautiful flowers that line the streets of certain parts of the District. They’re more than a sign that weekend traffic will be clogged for the month of April. Or even that spring is here. The cherry blossoms are a sign of international friendship, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival (NCBF) has a slate of events to through April 24 to get you in the spirit.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival runs until April 14. (Courtesy Photo)
In 1912, according to the NCBF website, Yukio Ozaki, then mayor of Tokyo, gifted the city of Washington D.C. with 3,000 cherry trees. It was a symbol of kinship between the U.S. and Japan. Accordingly, the U.S. sent dogwood trees to Japan in 1915. Now that symbol has blossomed (get it) into into a month long celebration with more than 1.5 million people enjoying the events.
The following are some selected highlights to mark on your calendar.
Hirshhorn/Draw: Cherry Blossoms in The Sculpture Garden
For those aspiring artists and enthusiasts, the Hirshhorn/DRAW has a sketching session for you. Ease through the Sculpture Garden, 700 Independence Ave S.W. and draw away with the cherry blossoms as your muse and backdrop. This event is Friday from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Fractured: Faces of Family Separation
Want to walk and learn about culture? The “Fractured” walk is a walk and educational program raising awareness of the Japanese Americans experience during World War II, according to the site. This is event runs from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. April 6 and is free and open to the public.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Petalpalooza – April 6
All day long at the Wharf you can enjoy live music, beer gardens, all-ages activities and the culmination of the day – fireworks. This event runs from 12 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. is free and open to the public.
2019 NCBF Greenscape Corridor Bike Ride / Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and 5K Run – Walk- April 7
For those people who feel physical exercise relaxing – okay. Seriously, there are activities for you too. The Corridor Bike ride allows participants to check out urban landscape and historical sites on their bike. Also about 16,000 runners will run through the Washington Monument grounds from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
The bike ride starts at BikeSPACE, 2424 18th Street NW from 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade – April 13
One of the centerpieces of the 26-day affair is the parade, with a route that runs along Constitution Avenue between 7th and 17th Streets N.W. Anthony Anderson from ABC’s “black-ish” will serve as Honorary Grand Marshal. Also slated for attendance is 90s dance diva CeCe Peniston and Motown sensation Freda Payne.
Support a Tree
There are 3,800 cherry blossom trees that line the National Mall. The Trust for the National Mall launched their “Endow a Cherry Tree Campaign” in to raise $3.5 Million to nurture an endowment that would care for the trees. Participants cna support an individual tree for a $1,000 donation.
For more information about the NCBF please go to www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org