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100 Years of Blooms

By Linda Tancs

The National Cherry Blossom Festival, the nation’s greatest springtime celebration, is celebrating 100 years of blooms this year.  The festivities, having begun on 20 March and continuing to 27 April, mark the centennial of Tokyo’s donation of 3,000 cherry blossom trees to Washington, DC.  Based on comparative records of past bud development, the National Park Service forecasts peak blooms until 31 March this year.  The average peak bloom date, defined as the day on which 70 percent of the blossoms of the Yoshino cherry trees that surround the Tidal Basin are open, is 4 April.  A highlight of the season is the cherry blossom festival parade, a long-standing Washington tradition featuring lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and other family entertainment.  Admission is free along the parade route, Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th streets, NW.

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