Washington’s cherry blossoms are expected to be at peak bloom between April 3 and 6, the National Park Service announced Wednesday. The Park Service defines peak bloom as the date when 70 percent of the Tidal Basin’s Yoshino cherry trees are blossoming and determines the dates using a temperature-based model. Peak bloom dates are rarely exact–last year the Park Service predicted March 17, then pushed it back to the end of March after a cold snap. They hit peak bloom on April 5.
This year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival will run from March 20 to April 14 and, as always, commemorates Japan’s 1912 gift of more than 3,000 cherry trees. Events include the annual parade, kite festival, and 10-mile race as well as a host of performances and cultural experiences. This year’s opening ceremony will include special selections from Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, the musical inspired by the popular manga, which will have its full North American debut later in the festival. At this year’s Blossoms and Baseball, the Nats face off against Bryce Harper‘s new team, the Philadelphia Phillies. The festival will close with the sixth annual Anacostia River Festival, which celebrates Anacostia Park’s 100th birthday this year.
Want to get boozy with your blossoms? Drink Company’s Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Bar is back, now with ramen and a special festival night. Old Ox Brewery’s National Cherry Blossom FestiALE will also be back in area grocery stores. For those of you who want pictures of the beautiful cherry trees minus the crowds, we have five ways to get the perfect shot. Or if you want to get zen under the cherry trees, we have some tips for that too.