1. Kids take charge during the kickoff of the festival at Family Day. Don’t miss “can”-struction — a 3-D creation built entirely of food cans from Safeway. The activities and sounds from two stages keep families entertained for hours. March 26, 10:00am-3:30pm, National Building Museum — 401 F Street, NW. Free.
2. The Opening Ceremony once again includes inspiring performances like the contemporary movement of TAKE Dance, and Keiko Matsui, a pianist, composer and producer with over a million and a half albums sold. March 26, 4:00-5:30pm, National Building Museum — 401 F Street, NW. Free.
3. Sounds and Spirit of the Festival. The Performance Stage at Sylvan Theater has free shows starting at noon daily. Petal Fest & Performance Stage on Woodrow Wilson Plaza (April 8 & 9) pays homage to local talent with Chuck Brown and Christylez Bacon with Urban Artistry on “DC Day,” April 8. See www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org for schedules. Free.
4. Over 75 of the area’s best chefs have something delicious on the menu. The Cherry Picks Program has tasty appetizers, sumptuous entrees, decadent desserts, and robust cocktails. Visit www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/cherrypicks for the full list.
5. Eyes to the sky at the Blossom Kite Festival! The festival produces the popular kite-flying event that draws hundreds of kite flyers, demonstrators, and spectators. March 27, 10:00am-4:00pm, Washington Monument grounds. Free.
6. Bloomin’ Brilliant! The Festival and FotoDC launch their inaugural photo contest. Take your best shot in Landscape, People, and Festivities, and enter to win $500 in prize money and national exposure. See rules and entry guidelines at www.cherryblossom.fotodc.org.
7. Cherry trees for your home. Through the new partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, now you can purchase a cherry tree reminiscent of the Tidal Basin for your home, all while supporting the festival. www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/trees.
8. Sixty live cherry blossom trees will bloom in Macy’s. See the blossoms regardless of weather! March 27-April 10, Macy’s Metro Center, 1201 G Street, NW. Free.
9. The spectacle of stars at the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade® includes original “Dream Girl” Sheryl Lee Ralph, pop diva CeCe Peniston, grand marshal actor Atticus Shaffer, and so much more. The annual Sakura Matsuri festival entertains the rest of the day with Japanese pop music, marketplace and more in the largest street festival of its kind. Parade: April 10, 10:00am, $17, www.ticketmaster.com, standing along the parade route is free; Sakura Matsuri follows, $5.
10. Get a move on! Between the new Bike Rally & Ride, ranger-led Cherry Chit-Chat runs, paddle boats, bike valet and Capital Bikeshare rentals, there are endless active ways for the one million visitors expected at the 2011 National Cherry Blossom Festival to see Washington’s famed blossoms.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is Washington, DC’s and the nation’s greatest springtime celebration. The 2011 Festival, March 26-April 10, includes three spectacular weekends and daily events featuring diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit. The 2011 festival commemorates the 99th anniversary of the gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the United States and Japan.
Hotline: (877) 44-BLOOM