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While this year’s winter seems determined to stick around, it appears spring is refusing to go down without a fight.

Don’t believe me? Just keep your eyes on the cherry blossoms sprouting along the Tidal Basin! The trees are expected to reach full bloom by March 17, which is much earlier than expected — an indication that, against all odds, spring is finally beginning to, um, spring. Historically, the average peak bloom date falls around April 4. However, weather conditions play a significant role in the ideal time for these buds to start sprouting. As a result of February’s record-high temperatures, spring has hit the fast-forward button on D.C.’s cherry blossom bloom.

spring

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In case you aren’t familiar with the term, peak bloom is officially declared when 70 percent of the area’s Yoshino Cherry Blossoms open. That being said, it’d be wise to keep an eye on how recent forecasts influence the progress of this year’s bloom because, once the process has begun, the trees are particularly vulnerable. This ended up being the case last year when freezing temperatures wound up destroying nearly half of the blossoms before peak bloom had even begun on March 25.

Even so, it’d certainly be a mistake to miss out on this year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival ceremonies. You can expect these events to take place around various locations surrounding D.C.: the Washington Monument, West Potomac Park, and Hains Point in East Potomac Park. The festival draws about 1.5 million guests annually with its live entertainment and exotic scenery. And it’s completely free to the public!

Originally a gift from Tokyo in 1912, the trees have been celebrated in the festival ever since, commemorating our nation’s friendship with Japan, as well as the organic beauty of nature. This year’s festivities are planned to kick off on March 20 and will continue through April 7. Guests will enjoy a variety of events, including musical performances, fireworks, a parade, and much more!

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What do you look forward to most about the National Cherry Blossom Festival? Let us know in the comments!

Check out our guide to the National Cherry Blossom Festival here!

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