Cherry Blossom Mania in Full Bloom

Posted March 4, 2013 at 6:46pm

It’s official: The cherry blossoms are on their way.

If you, like HOH, were wondering about the lingering winter weather and distinct lack of springtime feeling around Washington, D.C., lately, worry no more.

Monday morning at the Newseum, the National Park Service announced this year’s prediction for the peak blooming dates of Washington’s famous cherry blossoms.

The Park Service estimates that the blooms will be at their peak between March 26 and 30. Peak blooming dates are when 70 percent of the blossoms are predicted to be open.

Fortunately for the festival planners, the peak dates fall within the official National Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs from March 20 to April 14. This is a godsend for festival organizers, as the peak blooming and the festival dates don’t always jibe.

This year is the 101st anniversary of the arrival of the trees from Tokyo to Washington, D.C., in 1912. “This is our Groundhog Day in Washington,” Newseum CEO Jim Duff said.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray was on hand to discuss what he said was the importance of the festival to the District’s neighborhoods and the positive economic effect the festival has on the city.

“D.C. is a springtime destination for not only the city but the nation and the world,” Gray said.

The mayor also proudly announced that the District’s population is now bigger than those of Vermont or Wyoming, and growing at a rate of more than 1,000 residents each month.

“We’re on our way to the top!” Gray joked.

More than 1.5 million people visited the capital for last year’s festival, giving the city a $170 million economic boost.

On the other side of the world, the Hard Rock Cafe in Tokyo will be glowing in pink during the festival to match its D.C. counterpart.

The full calendar of events is on the official website. There will also be free festival apps for iOS and Android for visitors to plan activities and follow official festival updates.