Washington fetes cherry blossoms

Kyodo

The annual National Cherry Blossom Festival opened Wednesday in Washington, with a series of Japan-themed events set to run through April 14.

Among the events are food tasting, fireworks and a popular downtown parade. The opening ceremony will be held Saturday.

Last year, Washington’s cherry blossoms reached full bloom in late March because of a warm winter. This season, the blossoms are forecast to reach their peak from April 3 through April 6, the U.S. National Park Service said.

Most of the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin reservoir along the Potomac River, the main viewing area, are still buds.

The festival commemorates the 1912 gift of young cherry trees from Tokyo to Washington. Japan donated the trees to enhance friendship between the United States and Japan.