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					History of the Cherry Blossom Trees
and Festival
Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry
trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. The gift and annual
celebration honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued
close relationship between the two countries.

In a simple ceremony on March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda,
wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two trees from Japan on the north bank of the
Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park. Between the governments of the two countries, coordination
by Dr. Jokichi Takamine, a world-famous chemist and the founder of Sankyo Co., Ltd. (today
know as Daiichi Sankyo), Dr. David Fairchild of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Eliza
Scidmore, first female board member of the National Geographic Society, and First Lady Helen
Herron Taft, the trees arrived in Washington.

A first batch of 2,000 trees arrived diseased in 1910, but did not deter the parties. Just two years
later in 1912, new trees arrived and were planted. These are the trees that now turn the Tidal
Basin into a cloud of pink each spring for all to enjoy.

In 1915, the United States Government reciprocated with a gift of flowering dogwood trees to
the people of Japan. A group of American school children reenacted the initial planting and other
activities, effectively holding the first “festival” in 1927. The Festival grew again in 1935,
sponsored by civic groups in the nation’s capital.

First Lady Lady Bird Johnson accepted 3,800 more trees in 1965. In 1981, the cycle of giving
came full circle. Japanese horticulturists were given cuttings from the trees to replace some
cherry trees in Japan which had been destroyed in a flood.

The Festival was expanded to two weeks in 1994 to accommodate a diverse activity schedule
during the blooming period. Today, more than a million people visit Washington, DC each year
to admire the blossoming cherry trees and attend events that herald the beginning of spring in the
nation’s capital.
NPS

The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United
States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted
flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the
evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the
ages.




Courtesy Washingtoniana Division, D.C. Public Library

Mrs. Eliza Ruhama Scidmore

1885: Mrs. Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore, upon returning to Washington from her first visit to Japan,
approached the U.S. Army Superintendent of the Office of Public Buildings and Grounds, with
the proposal that cherry trees be planted one day along the reclaimed Potomac waterfront. Her
request fell on deaf ears. Over the next twenty-four years, Mrs. Scidmore approached every new
superintendent, but her idea met with no success.
Courtesy U.S. National Arboretum

Dr. David Fairchild

1906: Dr. David Fairchild, plant explorer and U.S. Department of Agriculture official, imported
seventy-five flowering cherry trees and twenty-five single-flowered weeping types from the
Yokohama Nursery Company in Japan. He planted these on a hillside on his own property in
Chevy Chase, Maryland, where he attempted to test their hardiness.




Courtesy of the Fairchild Tropical Garden

Fairchild Estate

1907: The Fairchilds, pleased with the success of the trees, began to promote Japanese flowering
cherry trees as the ideal type of tree to plant along avenues in the Washington area. Friends of
the Fairchilds also became interested and on September 26, arrangements were completed with
the Chevy Chase Land Company to order three hundred Oriental cherry trees for the Chevy
Chase area.


1908: Dr. David Fairchild gave cherry saplings to children from each District of Columbia
school to plant in their schoolyard for the observance of Arbor Day. In closing his Arbor Day
lecture, Dr. Fairchild expressed an appeal that the "Speedway" (no longer existing, but marked
by portions of Independence and Maine Avenues, SW and East and West Basin Drives, SW,
around the Tidal Basin) be transformed into a "Field of Cherries." In attendance was Eliza
Scidmore, to whom he referred later as a great authority on Japan.




Courtesy U.S. National Arboretum

First Lady Helen Taft

1909: Mrs. Scidmore decided to try to raise the money required to purchase the cherry trees and
then donate them to the city. As a matter of course, Mrs. Scidmore sent a note outlining her plan
to the new first lady, Helen Herron Taft. Mrs. Taft had lived in Japan and was familiar with the
beauty of the flowering cherry trees. Two days later the first lady responded:

The White House, Washington

April 7, 1909

Thank you very much for your suggestion about the cherry trees. I have taken the matter up and
am promised the trees, but I thought perhaps it would be best to make an avenue of them,
extending down to the turn in the road, as the other part is still too rough to do any planting. Of
course, they could not reflect in the water, but the effect would be very lovely of the long avenue.
Let me know what you think about this.


Sincerely yours,

Helen H. Taft
April 8: The day after Mrs. Taft's letter of April 7, Dr. Jokichi Takamine, the Japanese
chemist who discovered adrenaline and takadiastase, was in Washington with Mr. Midzuno,
Japanese consul in New York. When he was told that Washington was to have Japanese cherry
trees planted along the Speedway, he asked whether Mrs. Taft would accept a donation of an
additional two thousand trees to fill out the area. Mr. Midzuno thought it was a fine idea and
suggested that the trees be given in the name of the City of Tokyo. First Lady Taft agreed to
accept a donation of 2,000 cherry trees.




Courtesy U.S. National Arboretum

Superintendent of the Office of Public Buildings and Grounds, Colonel Spencer Cosby, US
Army

April 13: Five days after Mrs. Taft's request, the Superintendent of the Office of Public
Buildings and Grounds, Colonel Spencer Cosby, U.S. Army, initiated the purchase of ninety
Fugenzo Cherry Trees (Prunus serrulata "Fugenzo") from Hoopes Brothers and Thomas Co.,
West Chester, PA.

The trees were planted along the Potomac River from the site of the Lincoln Memorial
southward toward East Potomac Park. After planting, it was discovered that the trees were
not named correctly. The trees were determined to be the cultivar Shirofugen (Prunus serrulata
"Shirofugen") and have since disappeared.


August 30: The Japanese Embassy informed the Department of State that the City of Tokyo
intended to donate to the United States two thousand cherry trees to be planted along the
Potomac River.


December 10: Two thousand cherry trees arrived in Seattle, Washington from Japan.




Courtesy of U.S. National Arboretum

Arrival of Cherry Trees

1910: On January 6, the two thousand trees arrived in Washington, D.C.




Courtesy of U.S. National Arboretum

Inspection of Cherry Trees

January 19: To everyone's dismay, an inspection team from the Department of Agriculture
discovered that the trees were infested with insects and nematodes, and were diseased. To protect
American growers, the department concluded that the trees must be destroyed.
Courtesy of U.S. National Arboretum

Burning of the Cherry Trees

January 28: President William Howard Taft granted his consent to burn the trees.




Courtesy U.S. National Arboretum

Mr. and Mrs. Yukio Ozaki

January 29: a newspaper article in the Evening Star mentions that "about a dozen" of the
"buggiest trees" were saved for further study, and "planted out in the experimental plot of the
bureau, and there will be an expert entomologist with a dark lantern, and a butterfly net, cyanide
bottle and other lethal weapons placed on guard over the trees, to see what sort of bugs
develop".

The probable diplomatic setback was alleviated by letters from the Secretary of State to the
Japanese Ambassador expressing the deep regret of all concerned. All parties involved from
Japan met the distressing news with determination and good will.

Tokyo Mayor, Yukio Ozaki and others suggested a second donation be made, and the Tokyo
City Council authorized this plan. The number of trees had now increased to 3,020. The scions
for these trees were taken in December 1910 from the famous collection along the bank of the
Arakawa River in Adachi Ward, a suburb of Tokyo, and grafted onto specially selected
understock produced in Itami City, Hyogo Prefecture.



1912: February 14, 3,020 cherry trees from twelve varieties were shipped from Yokohama on
board the S.S. Awa Maru, bound for Seattle. Upon arrival, they were transferred to insulated
freight cars for the shipment to Washington. D.C.


March 26: 3,020 cherry trees arrived in Washington, D.C. The trees were comprised of the
following varieties:


"Somei-Yoshino" ...................................1,800
"Ari ake"....................................................100
"Fugen-zo".................................................120
"Fuku-roku-ju"............................................ 50
"Gyo-i-ko".................................................. 20

(The Gyoiko were all planted on the White House Grounds)


"Ichiyo".....................................................160
"Jonioi".......................................................80
"Kwan-zan"...............................................350
"Mikurumagayeshi"....................................20
"Shira-yuki".............................................. 130
"Surugadainioi"...........................................50
"Takinioi"..................................................140


Total........................................................3,020
Courtesy U.S National Arboretum

Japanese Ambassador and Viscountess Chinda

March 27: Helen Herron Taft and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador,
planted two Yoshino cherry trees on the northern bank of the Tidal Basin, about 125 feet south of
what is now Independence Avenue, SW. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the first lady
presented a bouquet of "American Beauty" roses to Viscountess Chinda. Washington's renowned
National Cherry Blossom Festival grew from this simple ceremony, witnessed by just a few
persons. These two original trees still stand several hundred yards west of the John Paul Jones
Memorial, located at the terminus of 17th Street, SW. Situated near the bases of the trees is a
large bronze plaque which commemorates the occasion.



1913 - 1920: Workmen continued planting Yoshino trees around the Tidal Basin. The cherry
trees of the other eleven varieties and the remaining Yoshino trees were planted in East Potomac
Park.


1927: April 16, the original planting of Japanese cherry trees was commemorated by a re-
enactment of the event by Washington school children.

1934: The District of Columbia Commissioners sponsored a three-day celebration.

1935: The first "Cherry Blossom Festival" was sponsored jointly by many civic groups and
became an annual event in subsequent years.
1938: So prominent were the cherry trees that a group of indignant women chained themselves
together near them in a political statement against President Franklin D. Roosevelt. They sought
to stop the workmen who were preparing to clear ground for the construction of the Thomas
Jefferson Memorial. A compromise was reached wherein more trees would be planted along the
south side of the Tidal Basin to frame the memorial.

1940: Cherry Blossom Pageant was introduced

1941: December 11, four cherry trees were cut down in suspected retaliation for the Japanese
attack against the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The exact reason for the vandalism
never was substantiated. In hopes of preventing future damage during the Second World War,
the trees were referred to as the "Oriental" flowering cherry trees.

1948: Cherry Blossom Princesses were selected from each State of the Union as well as
from each federal territory. From these princesses, a queen was chosen to reign during the
festival.

1952: The famed cherry tree grove along the Arakawa River near Tokyo, parent stock for
Washington's first trees, had fallen into decline during World War II. Japan requested help to
restore the grove in the Adachi Ward, and the National Park Service shipped budwood from
descendants of those same trees back to Tokyo in an effort to restore the original site.




NPS, Brian Hall

Japanese Stone Lantern

1954: March 30, Sadao Iguchi, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States, presented a 300-
year-old Japanese Stone Lantern to the City of Washington to commemorate the 100th
anniversary of the first Treaty of Peace, Amity and Commerce between the United States and
Japan signed by Commodore Mathew Perry at Yokohama on March 31, 1854. The lantern, made
of granite, is eight feet high and weighs approximately two tons. The National Cherry Blossom
Festival officially is opened by the lighting of the lantern.



1957: Mr. Yositaka Mikimoto, President of Mikimoto Pearls, Inc., donated the Mikimoto Pearl
Crown that is used at the coronation of the National Cherry Blossom Festival Queen on the night
of the Grand Ball. The crown contains more than two pounds of gold and has 1,585 pearls. This
magnificent crown is ceremonial, and because of its weight the young lady, who is crowned
Queen, will wear the famous piece for just a few moments. She is given a miniature crown of
gold, with a pearl topping each point, to wear for the remainder of the evening and to keep
thereafter as her own.




NPS, Brian Hall

Japanese Pagoda

1958: April 18, the Japanese Pagoda, hewn out of rough stone, was placed on the southwest bank
of the Tidal Basin and dedicated. It was presented as a gift to the City of Washington, D.C., by
the Mayor of Yokohama to "symbolize the spirit of friendship between the United States of
America manifested in the Treaty of Peace, Amity and Commerce signed at Yokohama on
March 31, 1854..."

Link to Japanese Pagoda interpretive wayside exhibit (very large not suitable for printing).
NPS

Washington Monument Cherry Trees

1965: The Japanese Government made another generous gift of 3,800 Yoshino trees to another
first lady devoted to the beautification of Washington, Lady Bird Johnson, wife of President
Lyndon Baines Johnson. American-grown this time, many of these are planted on the grounds of
the Washington Monument. Lady Bird Johnson and Mrs. Ryuji Takeuchi, wife of Japan's
Ambassador, reenacted the planting ceremony of 1912.



1982: Approximately eight hundred cuttings from the Tidal Basin Yoshino trees were collected
by Japanese horticulturists to retain the genetic characteristics of the trees and replace trees
destroyed in Japan when the course of a river was changed. Other exchanges and gifts have
benefited both cities. Through this cycle of giving, the cherry trees have fulfilled their role as a
symbol and an agent of friendship.

1986 to 1988: A total of 676 new cherry trees were planted at a cost of over $101,000 in private
funds donated to the National Park Service to restore the number of trees to what they were at the
time of the original gift.

1994: The National Cherry Blossom Festival was expanded from one week to two weeks.

1996: March 27, signing of the Sister River Agreement between the Potomac, which flows
through Washington, D.C., and the Arakawa, which originates on scenic Mt. Kobushi in Saitama
Prefecture.
1997: June 17, in cooperation with the United States National Arboretum, cuttings were taken
from the documented, surviving 1912 Yoshino cherry trees shipment, to ensure preservation of
the trees' genetic lineage. These trees will be used in subsequent replacement plantings to
preserve the genetic heritage of the grove.

1999: November 15, Fifty trees, propagated from the 1,400+ year old "Usuzumi" cherry tree
growing in the village of Itasho Neo in Gifu Prefecture of Japan, were planted in West Potomac
Park. It is said that the 26th Emperor Keitai of Japan planted the tree 1,500 years ago to celebrate
his ascension to the throne. The "Usuzumi" tree was declared a National Treasure of Japan in
1922.

2002 - 2006: Four hundred trees, propagated from the surviving trees from the 1912
donation, were planted to ensure that the genetic lineage of the original trees is continued.

2011: Approximately 120 Propagates from the surviving 1912 trees around the Tidal Basin were
collected by NPS Horticulturists and sent back to Japan to the Japan Cherry Blossom Association
to retain the genetic lineage. Through this cycle of giving, the cherry trees continue to fulfill their
role as a symbol and as an agent of friendship.




WIKI

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a spring celebration in Washington, D.C.,
commemorating the March 27, 1912, gift of Japanese cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of
Tokyo City to the city of Washington. Mayor Ozaki donated the trees in an effort to enhance the
growing friendship between the United States and Japan and also celebrate the continued close
relationship between the two nations.[1]

[edit] Early initiatives


Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore was an early proponent of planting Japanese flowering cherry trees
along the Potomac River.

The effort to bring cherry trees to Washington, D.C., preceded the official planting by several
decades. In 1885, Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore returned from her first trip to Japan and approached
the U.S. Army Superintendent of the Office of Public Buildings and Grounds with the idea of
planting cherry trees along the reclaimed waterfront of the Potomac River. Scidmore, who would
go on to become the first female board member of the National Geographic Society, was
rebuffed, though she would continue proposing the idea to every Superintendent for the next 24
years.[2] Several cherry trees were brought to the region by individuals in this period, including
one that was the location of a 1905 cherry blossom viewing and tea party hosted by Scidmore in
northwest D.C. Among the guests was prominent botanist David Fairchild and his fiance Marian,
the daughter of inventor Alexander Graham Bell.[3]

In 1906, David Fairchild imported 1000 cherry trees from the Yokohama Nursery Company in
Japan and planted them on his own property in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The Fairchilds were
pleased with the results of their planting and in 1907 began promoting Japanese flowering cherry
trees as an ideal tree to plant around avenues in the Washington area. On September 26, with the
help of the Fairchilds' friends, the Chevy Chase Land Company ordered 300 Oriental cherry trees
for the Chevy Chase area. In 1908, Fairchild donated cherry saplings to every D.C. school to
plant on its school grounds in observance of Arbor Day. At an Arbor Day speech that Eliza
Scidmore attended, Fairchild proposed that the "Speedway" (a now non-existing route around the
D.C. Tidal Basin) be turned into a "Field of Cherries."[2]

In 1909, Scidmore decided to raise the money to buy cherry trees and donate them to the District.
As a matter largely of form, on April 5 she wrote a letter to First Lady Helen Herron Taft, wife of
newly elected president Howard Taft, informing her of her plans. Two days later, the First Lady
responded:

Thank you very much for your suggestion about the cherry trees. I have taken the matter up and
am promised the trees, but I thought perhaps it would be best to make an avenue of them,
extending down to the turn in the road, as the other part is still too rough to do any planting. Of
course, they could not reflect in the water, but the effect would be very lovely of the long
avenue. Let me know what you think about this.[2]

By chance, Jokichi Takamine, the Japanese chemist who discovered adrenaline, was in
Washington with Mr. Midzuno, the Japanese consul to New York City, on April 8. Informed of a
plan to plant Japanese cherry trees along the Speedway, Takamine asked if Mrs. Taft would
accept an additional 2000 trees, while Midzuno suggested that the trees be given in the name of
Tokyo. Takamine and Midzuo subsequently met with the First Lady, who accepted the offer of
2000 trees.[2]



The original 1910 gift of 2000 cherry trees from Tokyo had to be burned after they were
discovered to be infested with agricultural pests and disease

On April 13, Spencer Cosby, Superintendent of the Office of Public Buildings and Grounds,
purchased ninety cherry trees (Prunus serrulata) that were planted along the Potomac River from
the Lincoln Memorial south toward East Potomac Park. It was subsequently discovered that the
trees were of the cultivar Shirofugen, rather than the ordered Fugenzo. These trees had largely
disappeared by the 21st century.[2]
On August 30, 1909, the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C., informed the U.S. Department
of State that the city of Tokyo intended to donate 2000 cherry trees to the United States to be
planted along the Potomac. These trees arrived in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 1910.
However, the inspection team from the Department of Agriculture found that the trees were
infested with insects and nematodes, concluding that the trees had to be destroyed to protect
local growers. President Taft gave the order to burn the trees on January 28.[2] Secretary of State
Philander C. Knox wrote a letter expressing the regret of all involved to the Japanese
Ambassador. Takamine responded to the news with another donation for more trees, 3020 in all,
of a lineage taken from a famous group of trees along the Arakawa River in Tokyo and grafted
onto stock from Itami, Hyogo Prefecture. On February 14, 1912, 3020 cherry trees of twelve
cultivars were shipped on board the Awa Maru and arrived in D.C. via rail car from Seattle on
March 26.[2]

[edit] Japanese gift planted



Photographers and painters along the Tidal Basin under blossoming cherry trees, 1920

In a ceremony on March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife
of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two of these trees on the north bank of the Tidal
Basin in West Potomac Park. At the end of the ceremony, the First Lady presented Viscountess
Chinda with a bouquet of 'American Beauty' roses. These two trees still stand at the terminus of
17th Street Southwest, marked by a large plaque.[2] By 1915, the United States government had
responded with a gift of flowering dogwood trees to the people of Japan.[4]

From 1913 to 1920, trees of the Somei-Yoshino variety, which comprised 1800 of the gift, were
planted around the Tidal Basin. Trees of the other 11 cultivars, and the remaining Yoshinos,
were planted in East Potomac Park. In 1927, a group of American school children re-enacted the
initial planting. In 1934, the District of Columbia Commissioners sponsored a three-day
celebration of the flowering cherry trees.

[edit] Cherry Blossom Festival



The Washington Monument, as seen from West Potomac Park across the Tidal Basin

The first "Cherry Blossom Festival" was held in 1935 under joint sponsorship by numerous civic
groups, becoming an annual event. The cherry trees had by this point became an established part
of the nation's capitol. In 1938, plans to cut down trees to clear ground for the Jefferson
Memorial prompted a group of women to chain themselves together at the site in protest. A
compromise was reached where more trees would be planted along the south side of the Basin to
frame the Memorial. A Cherry Blossom Pageant was begun in 1940.[2]
On December 11, 1941, four trees were cut down. It is suspected that this was retaliation for the
attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan four days earlier, though this was never
confirmed. In hopes of dissuading people from further attacks upon the trees during the war, they
were referred to as "Oriental" flowering cherry trees for the war's duration.[2] Suspended during
World War II, the festival resumed in 1947 with the support of the Washington, D.C., Board of
Trade and the D.C. Commissioners.[citation needed]

In 1948, the Cherry Blossom Princess and U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen program were started by
the National Conference of State Societies. A Princess was selected from each state and federal
territory, with a queen chosen to reign over the festival. In 1952, Japan requested help restoring
the cherry tree grove at Adachi, Tokyo along the Arakawa River, which was the parent stock of
the D.C. trees but had diminished during the war. In response, the National Park Service sent
budwood back to Tokyo.[2]

The Japanese ambassador gave a 300-year old stone lantern to the city of Washington to
commemorate the signing of the 1854 Japan-US Treaty of Amity and Friendship by Commodore
Matthew C. Perry. For a number of years, the lighting of this lantern formally opened the
Festival. Three years later, the president of the pearl company started by Mikimoto Kōkichi
donated the Mikimoto Pearl Crown. Containing more than five pounds of gold and 1,585 pearls,
the crown is used at the coronation of the Festival Queen at the Grand Ball. The next year, the
Mayor of Yokohama gifted a stone pagoda to the City to "symbolize the spirit of friendship
between the United States of America manifested in the Treaty of Peace, Amity and Commerce
signed at Yokohama on March 31, 1854."[2]



Lady Bird Johnson plants a cherry tree along the Tidal Basin during the 1965 National Cherry
Blossom Festival.

The Japanese gave 3,800 more Yoshino trees in 1965, which were accepted by First Lady Lady
Bird Johnson. These trees were grown in the United States and many were planted on the
grounds of the Washington Monument. For the occasion, the First Lady and Ryuji Takeuchi,
wife of the Japanese ambassador, reenacted the 1912 planting. In 1982, Japanese horticulturalists
took cuttings from Yoshino trees in Washington, D.C., to replace cherry trees that had been
destroyed in a flood in Japan. From 1986 to 1988, 676 cherry trees were planted using
US$101,000 in private funds donated to the National Park Service to restore the trees to the
number at the time of the original gift.[2]

In 1994, the Festival was expanded to two weeks to accommodate the many activities that
happen during the trees' blooming.[5] Two years later, the Potomac and Arakawa became sister
rivers. Cuttings were taken from the documented 1912 trees in 1997 to be used in replacement
plantings and thus preserve the genetic heritage of the grove. In 1999, fifty trees of the Usuzumi
variety from Motosu, Gifu, were planted in West Potomac Park. According to legend, these trees
were first planted by Emperor Keitai in the 6th century and were designated a National Treasure
of Japan in 1922.[2] From 2002 to 2006, 400 trees propagated from the surviving 1912 trees were
planted to ensure the genetic heritage of the original donation is maintained.[2]




Visitors in a cherry grove on the National Mall, April 5, 2009

[edit] Organization and events of the Festival
Today the National Cherry Blossom Festival is coordinated by the National Cherry Blossom
Festival, Inc., an umbrella organization consisting of representatives of business, civic, and
governmental organizations. More than 700,000 people visit Washington each year to admire the
blossoming cherry trees that herald the beginning of spring in the nation's capital.

The two-week festival begins on the last Saturday of March with a Family Day and an official
opening ceremony in the National Building Museum.[6][7] An array of activities and cultural
events takes place on the following days.[8] The Blossom Kite Festival (formerly the Smithsonian
Kite Festival) usually takes place during the festival's first weekend. Every day there is a
sushi/sake celebration, classes about cherry blossoms, and a bike tour of the Tidal Basin. Other
events include art exhibits (photography, sculpture, animation), cultural performances, rakugo,
kimono fashion shows, dance, singing, martial arts, merchant-sponsored events, and a rugby
union tournament.

On the second Saturday of the celebration, a three-stage festival takes place on the Southwest
Waterfront.[9] When the festival ends, a fireworks show begins on the nearby Washington
Channel.[10] The next morning, the Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run begins on the grounds of the
Washington Monument.[11] Later in the day, dignitaries gather at the Tidal Basin to participate in
a ceremonial lighting of the 360-year old Japanese stone lantern.[12]

On the last Saturday of the festival, the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade takes place
along Constitution Avenue.[13] During and after the parade, the Sakura Matsuri-Japanese Street
Festival (see Japanese festivals), the largest Japanese Cultural Festival in the United States, takes
place at 12th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest.[14] Because the festival must be
planned long in advance, it sometimes fails to be celebrated during the peak of the cherry
blooms.

In 2009, the National Cherry Blossom Festival introduced an alternative event to its lineup, with
the debut of Cherry Blast, an underground-ish mix of projected art, dance performances, live
music, fashion and DJs that took place in an empty (but festively decorated) Anacostia
warehouse. (Most of the crowd was shuttle-bussed in from Dupont Circle.) In 2010, Cherry Blast
II—the creation of artist Philippa P. Hughes of the Pink Line Project—moved to a storage
warehouse in Adams Morgan, but still featured an eclectic group of local artists and
musicians.[15] Cherry Blast III took place indoors near the Southwest Waterfront in the evening
of the 2011 festival's second Saturday,[16] during and after the festival's nearby fireworks
show.[10]

[edit] Types of cherry trees




The Yoshino cultivar is the most common in D.C. and can be found encircling the Tidal Basin

Of the initial gift of 12 varieties of 3,020 trees, two—the Yoshino and Kwanzan—now
dominate.[17]

The Yoshino produces single white blossoms that create an effect of white clouds around the
Tidal Basin and north onto the grounds of the Washington Monument. Intermingled with the
Yoshino are a small number of Akebono cherry trees, which bloom at the same time as the
Yoshino and produce single, pale-pink blossoms.[17][18]

The Kwanzan grows primarily in East Potomac Park and comes into bloom two weeks after the
Yoshino. It produces clusters of clear pink double blossoms. East Potomac Park also has
Fugenzo, which produces rosy pink double blossoms, and Shirofugen, which produces white
double blossoms that age to pink.[17][19]

Interspersed among all the trees are the Weeping Cherry, which produces a variety of single and
double blossoms of colors ranging from dark pink to white about a week before the Yoshino.
Other cultivars that can be found are the Autumn Cherry (semi-double, pink), Sargent Cherry
(single, deep pink), Usuzumi (white-grey), and Takesimensis.[17][18][19]

				
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