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Coronavirus Cancels or Postpones National Cherry Blossom Festival Events

The National Cherry Blossom Festival, usually known as one of America's greatest springtime celebrations in the District, will be much less festival this year due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus. All major events of the Festival, scheduled March 20 to April 12 just across the Potomac River from Arlington in Washington, D.C., have been postponed or cancelled based on the District of Columbia’s Department of Health recommendations.

The three week cultural festival, held at multiple venues across the District and surrounding areas, normally attracts more than 1.5 million visitors. These guests travel from around the world to participate in events honoring American and Japanese cultures, recalling Tokyo’s gift of the trees to the city of Washington, D.C. in 1912.

This year, the cherry blossoms are expected to hit their peak March 21-24, which is unfortunately in the midst of many of the closures and restrictions on large gatherings in the District and around the Metro area. To ensure access to the latest information and guidance, the city has set up a website with the latest COVID-19 information and preventative recommendations. We encourage everyone to keep informed and act accordingly as new information is released.

Cherry Blossom Time
Cherry blossoms at their peak by the Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin

This year, restrictions and concerns surrounding coronavirus will obviously impact blossom crowds, but if you just can't imagine a year going by without seeing the blossoms in person, we just ask that you do so safely. To avoid any crowds and to practice the recommended social distancing, we suggest taking a stroll along the Arlington banks of the Potomac River along the Mount Vernon Trail to see all of the gorgeous blooming trees all at once without navigating amongst the Tidal Basin visitors. If you're just going a little stir crazy and need to get outside but still need to remain safe, perhaps take a bike to the “Arlington Loop,” a trail route created by Bike Arlington that provides a map connecting four regional trails and also provides an excellent blossom viewing area. If you need a bicycle, stop by any of the 92 Capital BikeShare stations found throughout Arlington and purchase a day pass. Please be sure to abide by recommended sanitation and handwashing guidelines.

Author: Cara O'Donnell