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Peak bloom season imminent for cherry blossoms

Events galore planned for D.C.’s trademark buds



cherry blossoms, spring, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Cherry Blossom Festival brings a flurry of activities that have something for everyone in the coming weeks.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival opening ceremony is at the Warner Theatre (513 13th St., N.W.) on Saturday, March 26 from 5-6:30 p.m. Enjoy traditional and contemporary performances that celebrate the beauty of the cherry blossoms. Performers include Japanese soprano singer Asako Tamura, comedy troupe Gamarjobat, jazz conductor Miho Hazara, the 6821 Quintet and musical duo Dois Hazuki. Admission is free but advance ticketing is required.

The National Building Museum (401 F St., N.W.) hosts a Family Day on Saturday, March 26 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Activities will include folding origami masterpieces, designing a memorial for the National Mall, building a tatebanko diorama and trying on traditional Japanese clothing. Admission is free.

The Blossom Kite Festival is located on the grounds of the Washington Monument near 17th St., N.W. and Constitution Ave. on Saturday, April 2 from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Watch kite fliers from across the country and the world give kite demonstrations and compete. Bring your own kite or make your own at the activity station. Admission is free.

The Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival is at the Southwest Waterfront (600 Water St., S.W.) on Saturday, April 9 from 1-9 p.m. Fireworks begin at 8:30 p.m. There will be a beer and cider garden, calligraphy, sailboat making, a food truck rally, face painting, T-shirt making and much more. Entry is free.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade begins on Constitution Avenue from 7th Street to 17th Street on Saturday, April 17 from 10 a.m.-noon. Performers include cast members from the musical “Jersey Boys,” R&B singer Raheem DeVaughn, “The Voice” contestant Sisaundra Lewis and pop singer Tiffany. Grandstand seating tickets are $20. Standing on the street is free.

Following the parade, the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival will be on M Street and New Jersey Ave. S.E. from 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Various performances celebrating Japanese culture will be on four stages. Admission is $8 in advance for adults and $10 afterwards and at the gate. Children 12 and under are free.

The Cherry Blast party at Carnegie Library is on Saturday, April 16 from 6 p.m.-2 a.m. There will be a dance party, sushi and saki workshops, a cosplay competition, Tokyo street food, manga vendors, anime fashion show, gaming competition and more. Certain events have separate admission prices. Tickets range from $20-25 for single events or are $75 for all. VIP admission is $125. For more information on all of the National Cherry Blossom events, visit

Outdoor goods store Filson (1534 14th St., N.W.) will be giving away complimentary cherry blossom seeds with every purchase through April 17. For more details, visit


Out & About

Pride Run 5K nearly sold out

Front Runners annual event to be held at Congressional Cemetery



Front Runners Pride Run 5K (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Sign up now to join the annual Front Runners Pride Run 5K. The event is 85 percent sold out. The event is Friday, June 7 at Historic Congressional Cemetery.

Join more than 1,000 runners and walkers as they kick off Pride weekend 2024. When registering please consider donating to one of the event’s charity partners. This year’s race proceeds benefit local LGBTQ and disenfranchised youth organizations, including the Team DC Student-Athlete Scholarship, Wanda Alston Foundation, Blade Foundation, Ainsley’s Angels of America (National Capital Region), Pride365 and SMYAL. Visit to register or to donate.

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Out & About

Civil rights commission to celebrate queer life

Panel discussion to discuss progress in LGBTQ rights



(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Maryland Commission on Civil Rights will host “Celebrating Progress and Centering Joy” on Thursday, June 6 at 12 p.m. virtually.

This event is a virtual panel discussion, as the commission celebrates the progress in LGBTQIA+ rights and center joy within the community. 

This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

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Calendar: May 17-23

LGBTQ events in the days to come



Friday, May 17

Center Aging Friday Tea Time will be at 2 p.m. on Zoom. This is a social hour for older LGBTQ+ adults! Guests are encouraged to bring a beverage of choice. For more information, email [email protected]

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Speed Friending” at 7 p.m. at Puro Gusto. This fun weekly event brings the DMV area LGBTQ+ community, including Allies, together for delicious food and conversation. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

Saturday, May 18

LGBTQ People of Color Support Group will be at 1 p.m. on Zoom. This peer support group is an outlet for LGBTQ People of Color to come together and talk about anything affecting them in a space that strives to be safe and judgment free. For more details, ​​visit or

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Brunch” at 11 a.m. at Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

Sunday, May 19

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Dinner” at 7 p.m. at Federico Ristorante Italiano. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

AfroCode DC will be at 4 p.m. at Decades DC. This event will be an experience of non-stop music, dancing, and good vibes and a crossover of genres and a fusion of cultures. Tickets cost $40 and can be purchased on Eventbrite

Monday, May 20

Center Aging: Monday Coffee & Conversation will be at 10 a.m. on Zoom. This is a social hour for older LGBTQ+ adults. Guests are encouraged to bring a beverage of their choice. For more details, email [email protected]

Go Gay DC will host “Out and About in Shirlington LGBTQ+ Happy Hour” at 6 p.m. at Palette 22. About 30 LGBTQ folk are expected. Palette 22 offers modern street food spanning the globe served in a bustling art studio & gallery atmosphere. This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite

Tuesday, May 21

Pride on the Patio Events will host “LGBTQ Social Mixer” at 5:30 p.m. at Showroom. Dress is casual, fancy, or comfortable. Guests are encouraged to bring their most authentic self to chat, laugh, and get a little crazy. Admission is free and more details are on Eventbrite.

Bi Roundtable will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This event is an opportunity for people to gather in order to discuss issues related to bisexuality or as Bi individuals in a private setting. For more details, visit Facebook or Meetup

Wednesday, May 22

Job Club will be at 6 p.m. on Zoom. This is a weekly job support program to help job entrants and seekers, including the long-term unemployed, improve self-confidence, motivation, resilience and productivity for effective job searches and networking — allowing participants to move away from being merely “applicants” toward being “candidates.” For more information, email [email protected] or visit

Asexual and Aromantic Group will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a space where people who are questioning this aspect of their identity or those who identify as asexual and/or aromantic can come together, share stories and experiences, and discuss various topics. For more details, email [email protected]

Thursday, May 23

The DC Center’s Fresh Produce Program will be held all day at the DC Center for the LGBT Community. No proof of residency or income is required. For more information, email [email protected] or call 202-682-2245. 

Virtual Yoga with Charles M. will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a free weekly class focusing on yoga, breathwork, and meditation. For more details, visit the DC Center for the LGBT Community’s website.

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