The National Cherry Blossom Festival will be held virtually this year.

It appears the warm weather is affecting the cherry blossom trees in D.C. The National Park Service has reported seeing green buds on trees around the Tidal Basin. The green buds are the first of six stages, culminating with the peak bloom of fluffy white flowers. The timing of peak bloom is determined by the weather. Currently, the NPS is predicting peak bloom between April 2-5, 2021 which happens to be during spring break for many of the school systems in the DMV area.

Last year, peak bloom occurred right as the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. With schools and businesses closed, large numbers of people descended the city to see the cherry blossoms forcing park and city officials to close roads and walking paths to keep the crowds away. This year, officials are asking people once again to stay home and view the cherry blossoms virtually. The park service has several 360-degree “bloom cams” and will be creating a new three-mile virtual tour of the Tidal Basin.

Washington monument and cherry blossoms

Courtesy National Cherry Blossom Festival

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is also producing a virtual event that includes opening ceremonies, art shows, neighborhood porch parades, and the Pink Tie Party. The festival begins on March 20 with a live stream of the opening ceremonies hosted by Olympic Gold Medalist Kristi Yamaguchi and ABC 7’s Michelle Marsh. Visit the website to download a map of the 26 sculptures created by local artists or learn about the virtual kite fly and Pink Tie Party.

This year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival will host its first annual porch parade. Residents in D.C., Virginia, and Maryland are encouraged to decorate their porches and front walks with cherry blossom-themed decor starting on March 20. Neighborhoods with the most participation will get a visit from the parade procession on the weekend of April 10, 2021. For more information and registration information, go to the Petal Porch Parade webpage.

What's your annual tradition around the National Cherry Blossom Festival? Share in the comments.