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Posted at 10:55 AM ET, 03/ 4/2010

It's about bloomin' time for cherry blossoms

By Fritz Hahn

Spring is on the way. Honest.

The first true sign of the season for Washingtonians is the blooming of the cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin, and according to National Park Service chief horticulturalist Rob DeFeo, the delicate pink blossoms will begin blooming March 31 and will be at their peak between April 3 and 8 March 28 and peak between April 1 and 4. (Update: the Park Service moved up the prediction for the bloom period and peak bloom dates on March 22.)

The National Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off on March 27 with a kite festival on the National Mall and a ceremony and family day at the National Building Museum. Other highlights of the 16-day event include fireworks over the Southwest Waterfront and a day-long marathon of anime films at the Freer (both on April 3). The biggest events take place on the final Saturday, April 10: a parade on Constitution Avenue followed by a Japanese street festival with music, food and cultural demonstrations.

We'll be adding more information about events and tips for tourists in our Cherry Blossom Festival Guide between now and when the festival begins. In the meantime, when do you think the cherry blossoms will actually bloom? Take our poll.

-- Fritz Hahn

By Fritz Hahn  | March 4, 2010; 10:55 AM ET
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