Washington celebrates as the cherry trees blossom


March 26, 1995|By Dorothy Fleetwood | Dorothy Fleetwood,Contributing Writer

The blossoming Japanese cherry trees in the nation's capital are cause for a festive two-week celebration. The National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the gift of 3,000 Japanese cherry trees sent to Washington in 1912 by the mayor of Tokyo and the friendship between the two countries. Opening ceremonies are scheduled at 2 p.m. today with the traditional lighting of the Japanese lantern at Sixth and Water streets Southwest. In addition, the Cherry Blossom Arts and Crafts Show will be held on the southwest waterfront from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. aboard the vessel Potomac Spirit, moored at Pier 4.

Events during the two-week festival range from concerts to a black-tie gala to a spectacular parade. Among the highlights are "The Art of Samurai -- Flashing Swords and Fighting Kites," a display of fighting kites of Shirone, Japan, and ceremonial sword fighting dating back to the Edo period (1600-1800) tomorrow at the Kennedy Center; a Monte Carlo Cruise April 6 on the Potomac River aboard the "Spirit of Washington," a benefit for the victims of the Kobe earthquake; a black-tie gala and crowning of the festival queen at the Marriott Hotel April 7, and the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, Washington's largest annual spectator event, from 9:30 a.m. to noon April 8.

The parade takes place on Constitution Avenue, between Seventh and 17th streets Northwest. This is the 25th year for the parade, which features colorful floats, huge helium balloons, celebrities, clowns, dance troupes, military units and some of the nation's best marching bands. Reserved grandstand seats cost $12 and are available through the Downtown Jaycees, (202) 728-1137. After the parade, you can attend Cherry Blossom Matsuri '95 at Freedom Plaza from noon to 4:30 p.m. Sponsored by the Japan-American Society, this event features Japanese and American performers, Japanese food, arts and crafts, demonstrations, workshops, and children's games.

In conjunction with the festival, the National Geographic Society will sponsor programs Tuesday and April 4. At the National Museum of Natural History, jazz trumpeter Terumasa Hino will perform Saturday, and the Beethoven Society Orchestra will play at the Department of the Interior auditorium April 2. Master sushi chefs from Japan will give a demonstration April 5 at Phillips Flagship Restaurant, and Japanese artwork, music and fashion will be presented at the Chevy Chase Pavilion, Western and Wisconsin avenues Northwest throughout the two week period. Numerous concerts are scheduled during the festival at Freedom Plaza and the Navy Memorial. Sports events include a golf tournament, a rugby tournament and a regatta, a competition among American collegiate crews sponsored by the George Washington University Rowing Team.

For information, call (202) 646-0366.

A Frederick sampler

Ten historic sites in the city of Frederick and Frederick County celebrate the opening of the 1995 museum season Saturday. "Hearthside Sampler" features demonstrations, exhibitions, tours and other programs related to food and historic methods of food preparation. Most programs run from noon to 4 p.m. A flier and map of the various sites is available at the Frederick Visitors Center, 19 E. Church St., at other area visitors centers and at participating museums.

Rose Hill Manor, home of Maryland's first elected governor, Thomas Johnson, offers programs for children, with a storyteller and hands-on art and architecture projects from 10 a.m. to noon. During the afternoon there will be demonstrations of hearth cooking and spinning.

Schifferstadt Architectural Museum, believed to be Frederick's oldest surviving building, will celebrate with a two-day Frueling Fest (spring festival). Events include discussions and demonstrations of 18th-century culinary herbs and a re-enactment of frontier life by the South Mountain Muzzleloaders. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Hearthside cooking and complimentary recipes will be offered at Roger Brooke Taney House/Francis Scott Key Museum. Barbara Fritchie's personal effects will be on view at the Barbara Fritchie Museum. Visitors can sample German potato pancakes and see hearth-cooking demonstrations at the Hessian Barracks; tour the home of Dr. John Baltzell, now the Historical Society of Frederick County, and watch butter churning and cheese making; see a Civil War soup kitchen at Monocacy National Battlefield; visit the Middletown Valley Historical Society; sample typical fare of 19th-century railroad men at the Brunswick Railroad Museum and see the "Railroaders 1900" exhibit and a large model railroad display; view the exhibits of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine; and take a one-hour walking tour that recalls Frederick during the Civil War, with emphasis on medical history. Tours will leave the museum every hour on the hour from noon to 3 p.m.

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