Cherry Blossom time
When does spring begin this year? Most would say it officially began March 20. Some may say it began with the first spring-training baseball game. Others, however, know that spring really begins with the start of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington. This year, the festival kicks off Saturday and runs through April 10. The festival commemorates the gift of 3,000 cherry trees from the people of Tokyo to the people of Washington in 1912.
It features numerous events throughout the two weeks, including a kite festival, live performances and a sushi tasting. Also, the huge National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade takes place April 9, traveling down Constitution Avenue, from Seventh to 17th streets.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place Saturday through April 10 in Washington. Locations vary. Most events are free. For more information, visit www. nationalcherryblossomfesti val.org or call 202-661-7584.
Ocean City fair
Head downy ocean, hon, for the sixth annual O.C. Easter Arts, Crafts and Kids Fair, tomorrow through Sunday at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City. The huge fair features more than 100 arts-and-crafts vendors offering sand art, wearable art, toys, books, furniture and more - many items with an Easter theme. The event also offers a vast kids' fair with Easter egg hunts, music, games, magic shows, a Moon Bounce, clowns, puppets, a giant slide and more.
The O.C. Easter Arts, Crafts and Kids Fair runs 11 a.m.-5 p.m. tomorrow, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center, 40th Street and the Bay, Ocean City. Admission to the fair is $4; $3 for seniors; $2 for ages 4-14; free for ages 3 and younger. Call 410-524-7020 or visit www.oceanpromotions. info.
Family fun at the zoo
The annual African-American Family Celebration takes place - as it has for more than 100 years - on Easter Monday at the National Zoo in Washington. This year's celebration includes Easter egg hunts, live music and storytelling, animal encounters, dance performances, a food bazaar and more. Many activities will highlight the zoo's African animals - cheetahs, Western lowland gorillas and hippos.
The event runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Washington. Free. Call 202-673-4821.- Lori Sears