March 23, 2016 at 9:00 am EDT | by Mariah Cooper
Peak bloom season imminent for cherry blossoms
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 nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.

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 filson.com.

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