Washington, DC welcomes the arrival of spring with the National Cherry Blossom Festival (March 20 - April 14, 2013), a tradition that showcases the beautiful gift of 3,000 cherry trees that the city of Tokyo gave to our nation’s capital. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual three-week, city-wide event featuring more than 200 international cultural performances and over 90 other special events.
The date when the Yoshino cherry blossoms reach their peak bloom varies from year to year, depending on the weather. Unseasonably warm and/or cool temperatures have resulted in the trees reaching peak bloom as early as March 15 (1990) and as late as April 18 (1958). The blooming period can last up to 14 days. They are considered to be at their peak when 70 percent of the blossoms are open. The dates of the National Cherry Blossom Festival are set based on the average date of blooming, which is around April 4th. Each year, the chief horticulturist for the National Park Service forecasts the expected peak bloom dates.