For the first time in two years, the National Cherry Blossom Festival will take place in person with events scheduled across all eight Wards of the District.
“The National Cherry Blossom Festival, springtime and the cherry trees themselves symbolize hope, renewal and new beginnings,” said President and CEO of the National Cherry Blossom Festival Diana Mayhew, expressing excitement about an in person format, and also for the meaning of the festival amid tumultuous times abroad.
“The trees are a gesture of goodwill from Tokyo to Washington DC [and] now more than ever, serve as a reminder to us the importance of unifying communities and sharing in the celebration of peace and international friendship.”
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), Counsellor for Public Affairs and Director of Japan Information and Culture Center of the Embassy of Japan Ryo Kuroishi, DC Councilmember Brooke Pinto and Superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks for the National Parks Service Jeff Reinbold spoke alongside Mayhew at the event.
Bowser encouraged the community and visitors to participate in the in person celebrations.
“One thing I know about our destination is that people will be flocking back to it,” Bowser said. “So let me say with that, DC is open.”
Bowser also emphasized the importance of what these trees represent on an international level.
“Thank you for your long partnership, the gift of 3000 trees, the symbolism of the relationship between our countries, and especially now, especially today we celebrate friendships from peace loving and freedom loving people around the world,” Bowser said.
Kuroshi also spoke about the theme of international goodwill and recognized that this spring is the 110th anniversary of the Japanese gift of cherry blossoms to the United States.
“Looking back, we can now see that those cherry blossoms have become a lasting symbol over a special friendship that has grown with In Japan, the United States, they have also become root for this wonderful springtime celebration,” Kuroshi said. “That brings us together today.”
While the blooms are predicted to peak from March 22 to 25, the 2022 National Cherry Blossom Festival will include four weeks of events featuring diverse and creative programming that promotes traditional and contemporary arts and culture, the natural beauty of the 3,700 local cherry trees, and community engagement and spirit. The festival runs from March 20 to April 27.
Sarah Payne is a general assignment reporter for Capital Community News. She can be reached at [email protected].