First Lady to Honor Cherry Blossom Festival Tradition - NBC4 Washington

First Lady to Honor Cherry Blossom Festival Tradition

Mrs. Obama to chair festival

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    Michelle Obama will follow in the footsteps of former first ladies and chair the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

    WASHINGTON -- First lady Michelle Obama will serve as the honorary chairwoman of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which will begin next month in Washington.

    The tradition dates to 1912 when former first lady Helen Taft helped plant the first two trees from Japan on the banks of the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial.

    Organizers are excited to have Obama involved as they begin planning the festival's centennial celebration in 2012, said Festival President Diana Mayhew 
     
    The pink and white cherry blossoms typically attract more than a million visitors each year. Organizers don't expect attendance to drop this year because of the ailing economy, said Mayhew. 
     
    This year's festival begins March 28 and runs through April 12.