Washington's cherry trees set to blossom

March 29, 1992|By Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- More than 3,000 cherry trees are poised to blossom in Washington this week, just in time for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.

According to the National Park Service, the pink and white flowers are expected to start opening between Thursday and Saturday.

But a weather change could move up -- or push back -- the date the flowers are expected to open so it's hard to make an exact prediction. Earle Kittleman of the National Park Service said the fragile blossoms last less than a week, and he warned that cold weather, high winds or heavy rains can ruin the flowers.

The weeklong festival opens with the traditional lighting of a Japanese lantern at 4 p.m. April 5, just off Independence Avenue by the Tidal Basin. The annual Cherry Blossom Parade down Constitution Avenue begins at 12:30 p.m. April 11.

Mr. Kittleman said roughly a half-million people are expected to come and see the cherry trees, which line the shores of the Tidal Basin, near the Jefferson Memorial. Traffic and parking in the area will be difficult so the best bet might be to park at a suburban Metro station and take it to the Smithsonian stop.

For more information on the festival, call the National Park Service at (202) 619-7275.

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