(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and the National Park Service kicked off DC’s cherry blossom season by welcoming the Cherry Blossom Bus. The bus went on a four-day, five-city tour to promote the National Cherry Blossom Festival. During the press conference at the Conrad Washington hotel in DC, the National Park Service also revealed that this year’s predicted peak bloom dates are March 22 to March 25. Peak bloom is when 70 percent of the Yoshino cherry blossoms are predicted to open, and the dates are subject to change depending on the weather. Due to earlier than usual predicted peak bloom dates, the festival will now be held from March 18 to April 16.
“Spring is a beautiful and exciting time in DC, and we love to welcome visitors to our city for the National Cherry Blossom Festival,” said Mayor Bowser. “And when people come for the Cherry Blossom Festival, we want them to stay and experience DC – our restaurants, our free museums, our theaters and sports, and our beautiful neighborhoods across all eight wards that are also filled with cherry blossoms. There’s so much to do and see, so help us spread the word about spring in DC.”
Riders on the Cherry Blossom Bus consisted of members of partner organizations, including the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Destination DC, Events DC, Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, and more. The delegation was led by Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. On February 26, a 45-foot coach bus displaying the National Cherry Blossom Festival theme of pink blossoms and the tag line “Follow Us To Spring!” left from Boston and then made stops in New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, before ending in DC. In each city, the team engaged local residents in cherry blossom activations and promoted DC tourism.
“I was proud to be a rider of the Cherry Blossom Bus Tour, promoting the best of DC and encouraging residents in other cities to follow us to spring,” said Deputy Mayor Falcicchio. “DC is easily accessible by car, bus, train, or plane and we’re expecting more than one-million visitors to help revitalize DC’s neighborhoods and economy by bringing in much needed revenue during this year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival.”
The 2023 National Cherry Blossom Festival will bring back much-loved traditions, plus new collaborations and experiences for four weeks of fun, food, culture, and entertainment. Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival marks the beginning of spring in the nation’s capital and attracts more than 1.5 million people to the District. At the heart of the festival is the blooming of 3,000 cherry blossom trees along the Tidal Basin. The cherry blossom trees were gifted to Washington, DC by the Mayor of Tokyo in 1912.
“We invite residents and visitors to go all out in celebrating the beautiful cherry blossom trees,” said Diana Mayhew, President and CEO of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. “Join us in embracing the season, engaging with, and enjoying all that springtime in Washington DC has to offer. To Spring It On, is to make memorable moments with friends and family, with beloved traditions and new experiences blossoming throughout the region.”
The Cherry Blossom Festival is also a celebration of community throughout all eight wards of DC. Visitors and residents are encouraged to engage with the community by posting pictures, videos, and memories to their social media channels using the hashtag #SpringItOn.
“The National Park Service is proud to be the stewards of the Japanese cherry trees, whose blossoms each year mark the return of spring to the nation’s capital,” said Jeff Reinbold, Superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks. “We invite visitors from around the corner and around the globe to enjoy Washington’s grandest springtime tradition at the Tidal Basin, and to help us care for the trees by taking the pledge to become a Cherry Blossom Protector.”
Starting March 18, the National Park Service will once again co-host the Tidal Basin Welcome Area and ANA Stage, located at West Basin Drive SW. Visitors can experience more than 150 free live performances and educational events showcasing a cross-cultural mix of American, Japanese, and other performing arts as part of the 2023 National Cherry Blossom Festival.
For more information about tourism in DC, visit www.washington.org. For more information about the National Cherry Blossom Festival, go to www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.