Updates to this Year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival
Rachel Harclerode ● March 19, 2020
There are many wonderful things about spring: the warm weather, the blooming flowers, the time spent outside soaking up the sunshine.
But springtime also usually brings something extra wonderful in D.C.: the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Every March and April, over 1.5 million people plan trips to the nation’s capital to witness the vibrant cherry blossom trees come to life. Unfortunately, plans for this year’s festival have been shaken up by the Coronavirus outbreak.
As we all navigate through this pandemic, we have to adapt to various lifestyle changes. While a lot of the National Cherry Blossom Festival has been canceled, some of it has been postponed for a later date. I will explain all of these changes below, so you know what to expect for each event.
1. How are events affected by the coronavirus?
To get the bad news out of the way, I will list the events that have been canceled:
- Opening Ceremony
- Blossom Kite Festival
- The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
We’ll all have to wait another year to enjoy these fun events again, but there is one event that we won’t have to wait as long to enjoy: the Pink Tie Party. This event will be postponed for a date to be determined. You can check out the National Cherry Blossom Festival official website for updates on this event.
Organizers of the festival are also looking into livestreaming the Opening Ceremony so people can still watch all of the scheduled performances. Keep an eye out for updates on that as well at the festival’s official website or on their Facebook page.
2. Can I still see the peak bloom?
The National Park Service (NPS) monitors the trees and predicts when they will reach peak bloom. Peak bloom typically occurs around April 4th — although it varies each year — and describes the point that 70% of the trees surrounding the Tidal Basin have opened their blossoms.
This year’s peak bloom is expected to occur by the end of this week (between March 20-24). While visiting is advised against and is up to visitors’ discretion, the Tidal Basin viewing areas effectively remain accessible.
There are also much less crowded areas where people can still view the cherry blossoms in their full glory. These areas include the National Arboretum—which remains open—and along East Potomac Park.
If you don’t want to risk traveling to the area, you can view breathtaking images of this year’s cherry blossoms in bloom on the Cherry Blossom Watch page.
And if you’re determined to see the cherry blossoms in person this year, as always, take precautions, wash your hands, and stay safe!