Cherry blossoms bloom on the edge of the Tidal Basin. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
The Cherry Blossom Festival set an attendance record this year, with 1.6 million visitors, and the weekend's parade saw a 15-20 percent increase in attendees from last year, according to the Washington Business Journal.
Festival organizers expect the economic impact numbers to exceed last year's $160 million in spending related to the festival. These figures will be released in the next couple of weeks.
The impressive numbers can be credited to a longer-than-usual leadup to the blossoms' peak bloom dates. Last year, rain cut the blooming time short, while 2013 had a week and two full weekends of good weather to enjoy the cherry blossoms.
IN OTHER NEWS:
* Arlington County homeowners may face a higher tax rate than previously expected after the County Board ordered the manager to raise the tax rate by 3.5 percent Tuesday. That would result in a $277 hike on the average residential tax bill. (Washington Post)
* Take a deeper look inside Virginia gubernatorial hopefuls Ken Cuccinelli’s and Terry McAuliffe’s fundraising figures, which include a $1 million check from the Republican Governors Association to Cuccinelli and a $100,000 donation from President Bill Clinton to McAuliffe. (Virginian-Pilot)
* District Attorney General Irv Nathan's office is set to file a lawsuit soon -- against two construction firms that teamed up to manage construction of Anacostia High School, alleging that they conspired to defraud the District government through a “phony joint venture that benefited from the city's beleaguered contracting set-aside effort known as the Certified Business Enterprise program.” (Washington City Paper)
* According to census data, Washington is one of only 11 regions where rent rose from 2009 to 2011. Out of those 11 regions, Washington had the highest increase. (Washington Examiner)
* Gov. Martin O’Malley defends the nearly 40 tax hikes he has enacted while governor, saying they are essential to the great strides Maryland has made over the past seven years. (Capital Gazette)
* In the final stretch of the D.C. Council race, Pat Mara has the most cash on hand, with 82,676 to spend. Following him, Elissa Silverman has $42,212 to spend. (Washington Examiner)
* McAuliffe won’t be at Wednesday’s Shad Planking -- the latest sign that one of the commonwealth’s quirkiest bipartisan traditions is morphing into something more typically partisan. (Washington Post)
* D.C.'s Emancipation Day events experienced no security problems (News4)
* D.C. Council candidate Elissa Silverman released her 2012 tax returns on her website, saying she hopes the other candidates follow her lead. (Washington Post)