Your Guide to the 2016 National Cherry Blossom Festival

monument-600x450I’m late, I know. Prayerfully next week I can post about why I’ve been so MIA and all that’s going on with me, but as tired as I am I still couldn’t just not post about the Cherry Blossom Festival. You guys know it’s one of my very favorite events in all of the DC area! So without further ado, here are the events that are still coming up so that you too can get in on the celebration!

Blossom Kite Festival
Grounds of the Washington Monument near 17th Street NW and Constitution Avenue
Saturday, April 2nd, 10am – 4:30pm
Depending on wind and weather, schedule is subject to change
Opening Ceremony
Opening Remarks 10 am
National Anthem
Step into Spring Kick-off Parade

*Competition & Demonstration Field
Kite Ballets and Demonstrations 10:30 – 11 am
Adult Kite Makers Competition 11am – 1 pm
Demonstration: Kites of the Decades 1 – 2 PM
Hot Tricks Showdown 2 – 3 PM
Rokkaku Battle 3 – 4 PM
Puzzle Rokkaku 4 – 4:15 PM
Kite Arch and Awards 4:15 – 4:30 PM

*Family Field
Practice Fly for Youth Kite Makers 10:30 – 11 AM
Youth Kite Makers Competition 11 AM – 12 Noon
Youth Kite Makers Awards 12 Noon – 12:30 PM
Mini Rokkaku Practice 12:30 – 1 PM
Mini Rokkaku Challenge (ages 5-9) 1 – 1:30 PM
Mini Rokkaku Challenge (ages 10-15) 1:45 – 2 PM
Bol Races 2 – 3 PM
Family Open Fly 3 – 4:30 PM

Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk
National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism, located at the intersection of Louisiana and New Jersey Avenues and D Street NW Washington, DC.
Saturday, April 2nd, 9am – 12pm
This walk aims to bring awareness about what life was like for Japanese Americans during World War II. The walk will conclude with traditional Japanese and Palestinian folk dancing.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
Southwest Waterfront – 600 Water Street, SW
Saturday, April 9th, 1pm – 9pm (Fireworks start at 8:30 PM)
This event is always a family favorite. It’s our favorite simply because it combines three of our favorite things – face painting, food, and crafts! There’s also live music, and of course, the big fireworks show to end the night.

• Harris Teeter Experience
• Cherry Blossom Photos – sponsored by Harris Teeter
• Caligraphy
• DC Dragon Boats and Excursions
• Beer and Cider Garden – sales stop at 8:15 PM, services stops at 8:30 pm
• Product Samples provided – by Harris Teeter and Procter and Gamble

• Food Truck Rally
• Coffee and Hot Chocolate Samples – sponsored by Dunkin Donuts
• Sailboat Making
• Hot 99.5 Music and Giveaways – special appearance by DJ Toby Knapp from 2-4 PM
• Blossom Art
• Character Appearances – sponsored by WETA

• Food Truck Rally and Picnic Area
• Blossom Hair Styles and Photo Shoot – sponsored by Hair Cuttery
• Blossom Ink Temporary Tattoos
• Family Comfort Station sponsored by Pampers, Luvs and Dreft

• Paper Bag Puppets
• T-shirt Crafting – by Harbor Patrol
• Kasa Hat Creations
• Paper Kite Gliders
• Face Painting
• Family Games
• Koi Windsocks

Lantern Making Family Day at Yards Park
Yards Park – 355 Water Street, SE
Saturday, April 16th, 10am – 2pm
There will be two sessions of lantern making for children and adults, at 10:00 am and at 12:00 pm. As an official event of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the lantern making day will feature a variety of Japanese cultural activities, as well as a moon bounce for all children to enjoy.

SAAM Cherry Blossom Celebration
Smithsonian American Art Museum – 8th and G Streets, NW
Saturday, April 9th, 11:30am – 4:30pm
A taiko drumming performance kicks off the afternoon, followed by other traditional Japanese music and dance, face painting, and cherry-blossom themed crafts. Colleagues from the Freer|Sackler can help you make your own Japanese fan. Create a koinobori windsock at one of our crafting tables or check out the spring book corner with our friends from MLK Jr. Memorial Library.

Cherry Blossom Beer & Wine Festival
500 New York Ave, NW
Saturday, April 9th, 1-4pm
Drink the District is back with the annual Cherry Blossom Beer & Wine Festival. With tickets this year starting at just $45, attendees can enjoy unlimited beer and wine, food trucks, and live entertainment all day.

Click here for more information and to buy tickets.

Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony
TIDAL BASIN AT Independence Avenue and 17th Street, SW
Sunday, April 10th, 2:00pm – 4:00pm
The ceremony takes place at the newly dedicated Japanese Rock Garden. It includes traditional music by the Toho Koto Society of Washington, DC and songs by the Washington Japanese Choral Society. The Joint Armed Forces Color Guard of the Military District of Washington, DC presents the colors.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Constitution Avenue – From 7th to 17th streets, NW
Saturday, April 16th, 10am – Noon
The parade runs for 10 blocks along iconic Constitution Avenue featuring giant colorful helium balloons, elaborate floats, marching bands from across the country, and celebrity entertainers, and performers. Individual tickets start at $20. Group tickets are on sale as well. Get your tickets here. Standing along the Parade route from Constitution Avenue between 9th and 15th streets, NW is FREE and open to the public. Arrive early for the best views.

Who Is Performing:

  • Cast members from the award-winning hit musical Jersey Boys
  • Pop sensation Tiffany
  • Chart topping artist and The Voice contestant Sisaundra Lewis
  • R&B Grammy-nominated artist and DC native Raheem DeVaughn
  • Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell
  • Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
  • Latin vocal group Viva Mas, who recently performed for Pope Francis
  • Local talent, including winners of the third annual Sing Into Spring Competition and the Washington Performing Arts Men and Women of the Gospel Choir


Sakura Matsuri

Head right on over after the parade, rain or shine! Adult tickets are $8 in advance, $10 after April 8. Children under the age of 13 are free. Buy your tickets in advance here.

Cherry Blast!
Carnegie Library – 801 k Street, NW
Saturday, April 16th, 6pm
Every spring this vibrant gathering proves a popular combination of Japanese sights, sounds and tastes, and this year, the event creatively spotlights all things related to anime, cosplay and gaming. This April, the fun launches in a new location –in the heart of downtown DC —at the Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square.

The Japanese-inspired event brings the energy and excitement surrounding its pop cultural experiences to the Festival. At Carnegie Library, revelers can enjoy a range of activities from manga and gaming to electric drifting competitions. Attendees can also partake in creative cosplay contests and learn about the latest Japanese fashion trends – straight from the runway. And the opportunity to relish in mouth-watering Tokyo street food, sake tastings and sushi workshops are just a few of the experiences available. Just when guests think it can’t get any better, they discover DC’s largest Japanese-inspired dance party, which showcases Asia’s alluring club and techno scenes.

Anacostia River Festival
Anacostia Park – 1900 Anacostia Drive, SE
Sunday, April 17th, 1-5pm
Head out to the Anacosita River to enjoy canoeing, kayaking, bird watching, bike riding, and nature walks.

Japanese Jazz Series at Blues Alley
1073 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
April 18-20, 8pm & 10pm
Celebrating Cherry Blossoms! Enjoy the music of young Japanese jazz artists at Blues Alley, performing as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival! Purchase tickets here.



2 thoughts on “Your Guide to the 2016 National Cherry Blossom Festival

  1. Hi Reina, I hope you and your family are doing well. BTW, your information is never too late! My girls and I just visited the Cherry Blossoms today. Anyway, just an FYI – the National Cherry Blossom Festival Lantern Making Family Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 16th. Are you planning to attend?


    • Hey lady! We usually do try to make the lantern making, but this year, who knows. I know we will go to at least two events, I just don’t know which two yet. Well, we’ll go to the Southwest Fireworks day for sure because that’s our favorite!


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