The cherry blossoms may have come in with a whimper. But today they’re going out with a bang.
The annual Cherry Blossom Festival parade marked the culmination of the two-week Cherry Blossom Festival, a high note ending the annual Washington springtime tradition after a late peak bloom for the beloved trees.
The parade, filled with floats, gigantic balloons, celebrities, dancers and local marching bands marched down Constitution Avenue for seven blocks. The streets were lined with thousands who had come out early this morning to celebrate the end of the festival.
“We decided to come downtown just to see the parade and we're having fun,” Ilsa Davis of Maryland said today, “We left the house early so we could get a good spot too.”
Holly Smith came in from Pennsylvania this weekend, her first time seeing the trees and the parade.
“Everything’s pink,” she exclaimed, “everyone should do it at least once in a lifetime.”
The parade this morning marks the official end of the two-week festival where over 1.5 million visitors came to Washington, DC.
Among them was Melissa Bercroff who came with her family from Louisville, Kentucky just to see the blossoms. Bercroff was glad her family’s timing was right, even though the blossoms timing was a bit delayed this year due to the cooler weather.
“The cherry blossoms are beautiful,” she said, “We heard for years and years how wonderful it is so we’re lucky we were here when they were out and blooming.”
And just off the parade route today was also a festive and delicious end to the celebration – a street festival celebrating Japanese culture and the country that gifted Washington with the now-famous trees.
Food, music, arts and crafts and performances littered Pennsylvania Avenue.
“We’re doing it all,” Anton Smith of Virginia said with his family by his side, “I love DC and it’s my first time here for the cherry blossom festival so we’re just trying to enjoy it.”