Washington’s crop of Japanese cherry trees will hit their peak bloom between March 31 and April 3, the National Park Service announced Wednesday. The bloom will come 11 days into the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs from March 20 to April 17.
The cherry blossoms and the month of parties, parades, and other events commemorating the city of Tokyo’s gift to Washington of more than 3,000 cherry trees in 1912. Among this year’s highlights are an opening ceremony at the Warner Theatre on March 26, the 50th anniversary of the Blossom Kite Festival over the National Mall on April 2, a fireworks show over the Southwest Waterfront on April 9, and the second-annual Anacostia River Festival to close out the Cherry Blossom Festival on April 17.
Last year’s peak bloom started April 11. Historically, the cherry trees’ peak-bloom phase has landed between March 15 and April 18, with an average start date of April 4, according to National Park Service records. But unseasonably warm weather in winter can push peak bloom earlier. Washington’s average temperature from December to February was 42 degrees, according to the Capital Weather Gang, making the current winter DC’s ninth-hottest on record; 2015 was the hottest year on record globally.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival last year brought about 1.5 million visitors to DC. Festival organizers this year are working with Capital Bikeshare, the DC Circulator bus system, the Parkmobile parking-meter app, and the ride-hailing company Lyft on transportation logistics. And, traditionally, Metro has halted weekend track work during the monthlong festival.