Spring is the time for one of Washington D.C.’s largest and most spectacular events; Cherry Blossom Festival (defined when 70% of the trees have opened their buds). In 1910, the city of Tokyo donated two thousand cherry trees to the District to demonstrate “...the growing friendship between the United States and Japan.” However, the original idea of planting cherry trees along the Potomac began with Eliza Scidmore (who became the first female member of the Board of the National Geographic Society) in 1885 following a trip to Japan. It took 25 years for this idea to fully take hold. In 1910, the chemist who discovered adrenaline, Jokichi Takamine, and the Japanese Consul to New York City, Modzuno, proposed the 2000 tree donation to Helen Taft, wife of newly elected U.S. President, Howard Taft. Unfortunately, these were discovered to be infected with insects and disease, which resulted in their being burned. Two years later, Takamine donated 3000 more trees that were successfully planted along the Tidal Basin. The first two of these trees, planted by Mrs. Taft and the wife of the Japanese ambassador, still stand at the terminus of 17th Street Southwest. The first Cherry Blossom Festival (now an annual event) took place in 1934. Thirty-eight hundred more cherry trees were donated in 1965, many of which were planted on the grounds of the Washington Monument. Representatives of business, civic, and government organizations came together to form the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Inc. which oversees this annual event and hosts the annual ten block Cherry Blossom Festival Parade down Constitution Avenue. With giant balloons, floats, marching bands, and other performers, this parade and festival attracts an average of 700,000 visitors to D.C. each year. It is truly a spectacle.I
The Cherry Blossom Festival along the Tidal Basin is one of Washington’s premier Springtime events.
What beautiful views!
Postcards could be made from some of the scenes we saw.
When 70% of the buds open, the Cherry Blossom Festival is at its peak.
We have our daughter, Madonna, and her husband, Josh, for alerting us as to when to experience this event.
Of course, the other big part of this festival is the ten block parade down Constitution Ave.
There were more bands than we could count...
...with an equal number of floats...
...and performing groups.
The requisite festival Queen and her Court were also in attendance.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.