Blossom kite festival postponed till Sunday


Some years, the trees on the Mall are more advanced at festival time. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

[Update: The National Cherry Blossom Festival announced via Twitter that the kite festival, which had been rescheduled for Sunday, has been canceled because of the wet conditions.]

The annual kite festival on the Washington Monument grounds, one of the signature events of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, has been postponed till Sunday because rain is in the forecast for Saturday.

The times are the same: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The festival, naturally, is very vulnerable to weather conditions. The Capital Weather Gang says a slow-moving rain storm will hang around all day. Besides getting the kite festival postponed, the forecast doesn’t bode well for the Washington Nationals’ 2:05 p.m. preseason game at Nationals Park. Stay in touch with the Capital Weather Gang’s forecast throughout the weekend.

Travel tips
Whenever the kite festival is, the travel issues are much the same. Metrorail is the best way to reach the Washington Monument grounds, though it means walking a few blocks. The nearest stations are Smithsonian and Federal Triangle.

For those visiting Nationals Park, the Navy Yard station on the Green Line is the closest stop.

Metro has halted its weekend track work program for the duration of the Cherry Blossom Festival, so trains should be operating on their normal weekend schedules.

Visitors who plan to make a few trips on a single day should consider buying a one-day pass for $14. The pass is available as a paper Farecard or on a plastic SmarTrip card.

Parking is free on weekends at the lots and garages operated by Metro. Drivers who park and ride on weekdays will need a SmarTrip card or a credit card to pay at the exits. SmarTrip cards have another advantage: Riders who use paper farecards pay $1 extra on every trip.

If you’re walking from anywhere in downtown D.C. toward the Washington Monument and the National Mall, consult visitor maps on downtown streets or the ones posted by the National Park Service. Bus shelters also often display large maps.

Capital Bikeshare has many stations along the Mall. You can sign up on the Capital Bikeshare Web site to be a member for 24 hours, three days, a month or a year, then take a bike from any station. The first 30 minutes of each trip are free; riders pay a fee for every additional 30 minutes.

Car parking near the Tidal Basin during blossom time is extremely scarce, and traffic is heavy. Drivers can park at Hains Point and take a shuttle. Limited parking — very limited — for people with disabilities is available near the memorials.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.
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