Visitors enjoy Cherry Blossom Festival 2018

WASHINGTON, DC -- The cherry blossoms haven’t bloomed yet, but that hasn’t stopped visitors from coming out and enjoying the festivities, including Japanese drum performances and Japanese inspired dishes.

“It’s been amazing, I’m really enjoying the Japanese drum.”, said Terri Roberts, visiting from Scottsdale, AZ.

Mary Jo Costine said, “We were kind of expecting some blooms, but hopefully those will come before we have to go back to Florida.”

Visitors from all over are making their way down to the Tidal Basin for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.

Sunday marked the opening ceremony, commemorating the gift of 3,000 cherry trees given to Washington, DC from the mayor of Tokyo, back in 1912.

“It’s like honestly amazing. I’ve never seen anything like this before, so I’m like mind blown.”, said Becca Finklestein, visiting from Pennsylvania.

Mark H. Rooney is a Taiko drumming instructor who was part of the entertainment down on the Tidal Basin.
He says that the cherry blossom festival presents a rare chance to share the art form.

“We don’t have an opportunity really to get together and just share Taiko with each other and with such a great audience as well. And so, to do so within the context of the cherry blossom festival is just amazing.”, said Rooney.

And what’s a festival without food?

Russel Baratz is the top chef for the National Park Service who came up with this year’s menu.

He explained, “so for cherry blossom, we’ve got some specialty items and one of our more popular items is a chicken yakitori bowl. It is sweet chili sauce and teriyaki glaze, topped with fresh cilantro and green onions, topped with sesame seeds.”

Other offerings include a teri-mayo dog, and an assortment of green teas.
The official opening ceremony was held at the Warner Theatre.

Peak bloom for the cherry blossoms is predicted for any day between March 27th - 31st.

The annual cherry blossom parade is set for April 14th.