Cherry Blossoms to peak March 14-17

The annual festival will begin early this year on March 15

Cherry Blossoms to peak March 14-17

UPDATE: Due to colder than expected weather coming in mid-March the National Park Service has moved the expected peak bloom date to be between March 19 and 22, according to The Washington Post.

D.C.’s famous cherry blossoms will be at peak bloom between March 14 and March 17, the National Park Service announced today.

If the NPS prediction comes true, this will be the earliest peak on record, according to The Washington Post. The festival will begin five days earlier than originally planned on March 15 and last until April 16.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival released the schedule of events for the month-long festival. Most events kept their original dates, such as the annual parade, but the festival will kick off with the annual Pink Tie Party on March 16. The luxurious party will offer guests entertainment through an open bar, silent auction and performances in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets start at $90.

Other highlights of the festival include the opening ceremony on March 25 in the Warner Theatre, the kite festival near the Washington Monument on April 1 and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade that marches 10 blocks down Constitution Ave. on April 8. Admission to these events are free, but grandstand tickets for the parade start at $20.

Enjoy the picture-perfect cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin along with music and vendors from March 25 through April 9. Or, avoid the crowded walkway and take a paddle boat around the basin between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m, though make sure to make an online reservation first. Prices are $18 an hour for a two passenger boat, $30 an hour for a four person boat or $30 an hour for the popular two passenger swan boats.

The festival goes out with a bang on April 15 with the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival Presented by Harris Teeter. Admission is free, and although the firework display will begin at 8:30 p.m., the festival runs from 2 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The best way to get to the Tidal Basin for festival fun is by taking the Blue or Orange line to the Smithsonian station or the Blue, Green or Yellow line to the L’Enfant Plaza station.

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