100 Years of Cherry Blossoms in D.C.

Cherry Blossom Parade, Sakura Matsuri Fest This Saturday

Fest features beer gardens, sake tasting, Japanese music, and demos from 200+ martial artists

By Carissa DiMargo
|  Saturday, Apr 14, 2012  |  Updated 2:11 PM EDT
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Blossom Parade, Sakura Matsuri Fest This Saturday

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Most of the blossoms have fluttered away, but some of the National Cherry Blossom Festival's biggest events aren't happening until this weekend.

On Saturday, April 14, the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade (10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) will feature Katie Couric, Alex Trebec and Leon Harris as announcers. Celeb marshals include Kristy Yamaguchi and the 2011 winner of "The Voice," Javier Colon.

The parade will run two and a half hours, a half-hour longer than in the past. You'll see giant balloons, floats, marching bands, performers and more. Standing room is free; seats are $20 each.

Also Saturday, the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) is centered on Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 10th and 13th streets.

The largest Japanese cultural festival in the United States features food from 25 vendors (Japanese, Korean, Thai, Chinese and western), including Asia Nine, Dolci Gelati, Hama Sushi and Terrace Thai. Two Kirin Ichiban beer gardens will be serving up a classic Japanese draft beer, Kirin. You'll also find a sake tasting pavilion, sponsored by Hakutsuru Sake.

Traditional Japanese and J-pop performances, and demos from 200+ martial artists will be on stages sprinkled throughout, and arts and merchandise vendors will be set up for your browsing needs.

The street fair is one of the few Cherry Blossom Festival events that now charges for admission, which is $5 for those age 13 and older. Kids 12 and younger are free.

However, ticketing means the festival is fenced these days. Entrances on the north side of Penn at 13th & E, 10th & E, and on the south side of Penn at 13th & Penn, 12th & Constitution, and 10th & Constitution.


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