Locals take in cherry blossoms as festival wraps up

(WJLA) - Locals and visitors alike are heading to the District's tidal basin to take in the cherry blooms as they hit their peak.

Virginia resident Masha Morton is one of the locals who made their way to the tidal basin to admire the trees.

Nagesh Simhaa a tourist from Bangalore, the capital city in the Indian state of Karnataka, feels he and his family planned their visit perfectly.

"I love this place... very lucky this time," Simhaa said.

Friday morning was an especially beautiful time to take in the blooms, Morton said.

All around the basin, families gathered for pictures, aiming to get that perfect shot, perhaps to place over the fireplace mantel.

Others used everything from pro lenses to camera phones to capture as many pictures as possible for posting on blogs and social media.

And though there are no bad reviews, the beauty of the blossoms were fleeting on Friday evening:

"The rain is coming," said Justin Pyles, an artist at the Smithsonian.

He watched as late afternoon winds pushed waters off the Tidal Basin wall, each gust pulling away pedals. So he pulled out his brushes to memorialize this year.

Rain or shine, the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade will march down Constitution Avenue on Saturday at 10 a.m. – and its lineup is already generating fan frenzy.

It wraps this weekend with parade performances by Aaron Carter, baby brother of Backstreet-er Nick. A Japanese orchestra choir will also be hitting the stage.

Detours are going up, so be prepared to Metro or face a sea of brake lights. As the rain starts to fall, the hope is that the blossoms will hold on to star in the show for the 102nd year.

The Yoshino cherry trees usually bloom for seven to 10 days. Strong winds and rain can blow the petals off all the flowers within minutes, so even though the forecast looks good this weekend, these amateur and professional photographers aren't taking any chances.