Were you planning to go see this year’s cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin? Sorry, you’re out of luck. After crowds mobbed the area this weekend, Mayor Muriel Bowser directed the National Guard to restrict access to parts of the National Mall until further notice.
Luckily, you can still partake in this year’s festival without even leaving your home (a welcome development to those of us assaulted by seasonal allergies). The National Cherry Blossom Festival has launched a virtual festival accessible on its website through April 12.
The virtual experience attempts to recreate everything visitors would experience at the live festival. There’s a video featuring a National Park Service park ranger giving a tour of the blossoms, and a live, 24/7 “blossom cam” that provides panoramic views of the blossoms near the Jefferson Memorial.
Though the official opening ceremony was canceled, scheduled talent have provided videos of their intended performances. There’s also a “Blossom Kids” page full of festival-related arts and crafts, as well as a tutorial of how to make blossom memes.
More content will be added to the site in the coming weeks, and there will be more opportunities for visitors to interact with the festival through auctions and contests.