Cherry Blossoms Expected to Peak April 8, National Park Service Says

An estimated 1.5 million tourists came to see them last year.

By: Benjamin Freed

Washington's crop of Japanese cherry trees will hit their peak bloom between April 8 and 12, just in time for the final weekend of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the National Park Service predicted Tuesday morning.

Peak bloom is defined as the date on which 70 percent of the trees are blossoming, although NPS officials admit their forecast isn't 100 percent accurate. Still, local and visiting tree-gawkers alike should not be dissuaded by yesterday's late-winter blast.

"As sure as winter turns to spring, cherry blossoms will bloom," James Perry, the NPS's chief of resource management, said at a press conference previewing the festival. This year's projected bloom is later than usual, however, with a 20-year average of March 31, though not much later than last year, when the blossoms peaked on April 6. 

The annual arboreal fête runs from March 20 to April 13 and will feature performance art, a parade, and several musical events, including a performance by Backstreet Boys sibling Aaron Carter. This year's festival will also include a fitness theme, although many DC residents would argue that evading the annual masses of tourists can be a strenuous workout in itself.

And if you simply can't deal witih the influx of an estimated 1.5 million visitors, Airbnb already has a page up for Washington residents looking to get out of town while making some extra scratch.