Cherry Blossom Festival Washington DC

Cherry Blossom Festival 2017

The National Cherry Blossom Festival Washington DC is one of the spring events hundreds of thousands of people (DC residents as well as guests) are looking forward to every year. Usually you can select from over 90 Cherry Blossom Events from the Opening Ceremony to Family Days, Free Cherry Blossom Tours, Fireworks, etc. and have a great time. The National Park Service predicted the most likely peak bloom period for the Washington DC Cherry Blossoms for the week from March 14 to March 17 - with the blooming starting on March 12. In the meantime, however, the National Park Service adjusted the cherry blossom bloom period based on the warm nights we experienced in the last couple of weeks. The 2017 Cherry Blossoms Peak Bloom is now predicted to be from March 23 - March 26, with the blooming period starting on March 19.

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms

Some of the highlights during the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival Washington DC is the Blossom Kite Festival, which will be held on April 1, 2017 (with April 2, 2017 being the 'rain date'. The history of the National Cherry Blossom Festival DC dates back to 1935, when the first Cherry Blossom Festival was held - organized by numerous civic groups. Since then millions of visitors and DC residents have seen the thousands of DC cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin, the FDR memorial, the Washington Monument and starting with the Cherry Blossom Festival 2017 also around the Martin Luther King Memorial DC.

It is quite hard to predict the exact peak date of the DC cherry blossoms, but the National Park Service has gotten really good at it. There are two terms that you will hear around the Washington DC Cherry Blossoms. One term is the Peak Bloom Date, which is defined as the day on which 70 percent of the blossoms of the Yoshino cherry trees that surround the Tidal Basin (map) are open. This date varies from year to year as the blooming depends on the weather conditions in the months and weeks prior to March/April. The 2nd term you will hear a lot, is the Blooming Period. The Blooming Period is the period when 20 percent of the blossoms are open until the petals fall and leaves appear. The blooming period starts several days before the peak bloom date and can last as long as 14 days. Of course, harsh conditions like frost or high temperatures combined with wind or rain can shorten this period. Below is a list of historic dates (thanks to the National Park Service), listing the developmental stage of the buds.

There are 5 stages: The 'Green Color in Buds' which will usually happen between mid to late February to Early March. The 2nd stage is the 'Florets Visible' stage from early to Mid March with an average of 16-21 days to Peak Bloom. The 3rd stage is the 'Extension of Florets' stage which you will see on average 12-17 days left to Peak Bloom. Getting closer to peak is the 'Peduncle Elongation' with on average 5-10 days to go to Peak Bloom and very frost critical. The final stage is the 'Puffy White' stage. On average about 4-6 days to Peak Bloom are left on the buds.

Cherry Blossom Schedule

Year Green Color in Buds Florets Visible Extension of
Peduncle Elongation Puffy White Peak Bloom
2012 2/29 3/8 3/12 3/14 3/15 3/20
2011 2/28 3/9 3/16 3/19 3/22 3/29
2010 3/14 3/19 3/21 3/23 3/26 3/31
2009 3/8 3/12 3/18 3/23 3/27 4/1
2008 2/19 3/11 3/17 3/19 3/24 3/29
2007 3/5 3/20 3/25 3/27 3/28 4/1
2006 2/28 3/13 3/14 3/16 3/22 3/30
2005 3/7 3/22 3/31 4/3 4/4 4/9
2004 3/4 3/12 3/15 3/22 3/27 3/31
2003 3/17 3/23 3/25 3/27 3/29 4/2
2002 3/7 3/14 3/18 3/20 3/27 4/2
2001 2/26 3/11 3/20 3/25 3/30 4/6
2000 2/29 3/8 3/9 3/10 3/14 3/17
1999 3/16 3/22 3/26 3/30 4/1 4/5
1998 2/13 3/1 3/8 3/10 3/23 3/27
1997 2/21 3/2 3/10 3/13 3/20 3/26
1996 2/29 3/15 3/18 3/25 3/30 4/4
1995 3/8 3/17 3/20 3/22 3/27 4/2
1994 3/8 3/20 3/25 3/29 4/1 4/5
1993 3/15 3/22 3/28 4/2 4/5 4/11
1992 3/7 3/15 3/23 3/31 4/1 4/5
Source: National Park Service

Cherry Blossom Festival 2012

The 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival Washington DC will happen from March 15 until April 16 (a 5-week spectacular). Check out events being held during the National Cherry Blossom Festival Washington DC on the official website of the National Cherry Blossom Festival Organization.

Tidal Basin Map

Cherry Blossom Events

The annual Cherry Blossom Festival offers so many event, that it can be a challenge to fit them all in your schedule. We are listing some of the highlights here on the site, but there are even more events than we will talk about.

Opening Ceremony

Let's start with the Opening Ceremony, which you can enjoy on March 25th, 2012 at the Washington Convention Center. The Ceremony starts at 5pm EST and will last until 6:30pm, with pre-show festivities from 4-5pm. Unfortunately, all tickets to the ceremony, that will feature renowned American and International Artists, have all been reserved already.

Family Days

The week before the crowds gather for the Blossom Kite Festival around the Washington Monument, you can enjoy the Family Days (2 days this year) on March 24 and 25, 2012 at the National Building Museum at 401 F Street NW, a short walk away from the Verizon Center Washington DC. The times for the Family Days are from 10am till 4:30pm on Saturday (24th) and 11am till 3:30pm on Sunday (25th).

National Cherry Blossom Festival Fireworks Show

You don't want to miss the fireworks on the evening (8pm) of April 7, 2012 at 600 Water Street, SW. You can even make it a several hour enjoyable afternoon and fireworks evening by coming early and participating in hands-on activities, listen to musical entertainment and have some food and drinks while wandering around 600-900 Water Street, SW, where all those activities take place.

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