The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a time to celebrate spring. Cherry Blossom Festival returns in timely fashion this weekend as pink buds are already sprouting from tree-lined streets. Festivities will take place around town from March 26th. The official festival begins Saturday when the blossoms will be near peak bloom, according to the festival’s website.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival begins this weekend in Washington, D.C., and organizers are asking people to participate tonight in a walk around the Tidal Basin where the cherry blossoms have been blooming since they arrived as a gift from Japan in 1912.

The festival will begin with an event to reflect on the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which gave the capital its first cherry trees 99 years ago.

More than a million people are expected to attend festival events from Saturday to April 10. Athletes, children and foodies will all find something to do during the festival.

Bike tours, runs, walks and audio tours will be available. The Sylvan Theater near the Washington Monument has free performances daily. Visitors can fly kites below the monument, and children can take part in hands-on activities at the National Building Museum’s Family Day.

Photographers who capture the blossoms on camera have a chance to win $500 and a chance to display their images at an annual art show. The National Cherry Blossom Festival and FotoDC are hosting the first National Cherry Blossom Festival Photo Contest. In another first this year, the festival and the Arbor Day Foundation are selling cherry blossom trees that people can plant in their own yards.

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