National Cherry Blossom Festival: Last weekend of events


HANDOUT IMAGE: National Cherry Blossom Festival parade (Photo by Ron Engle)
April 11, 2013

The National Cherry Blossom Festival officially ends Sunday, and it’s going out with a bang. We’ve highlighted a few activities you won’t want to miss. For a complete list of cherry-related events, visit wapo.st/cherry2013.

Kathy Orton

Cherry Blossom Queen Coronation and Grand Ball

For 65 years, about 3,000 young women have participated in the Cherry Blossom Princess Education and Cultural Exchange Program, including this year’s congressional co-chairs, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). At the Grand Ball, the Cherry Blossom Queen will be chosen by the spin of a wheel, and the next day she will take part in the cherry blossom parade and street festival. The first queen, in 1948, was 16-year-old Doris Sheldon of Delaware. Guam’s princess has worn the Mikimoto pearl crown three times, while Texas has been shut out. Local television meteorologist Jacqui Jeras will emcee the black-tie ball, which includes a sushi reception, a three-course dinner and dancing.

Friday at 6 p.m. Marriott Renaissance Hotel, 999 Ninth St. NW.
www.statesocieties.org
. $175, $75 age 12 and younger.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade

Floats, giant helium-filled balloons and bands parade down Constitution Avenue in this annual spectacle. This year, Redskins wide receiver Josh Morgan will be the grand marshal, and there will be performances by Mya and Elliott Yamin, among others. Marching bands will include the popular Ballou High School band and the Maryland State National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade Band, which is made up of members of the Havre de Grace and Westminster high school bands.

Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Constitution Avenue between Seventh and 17th streets NW. www.nationalcherryblossom
festival.org
. 877-442-5666. $20 for grandstand seating, free standing along route.

Japanese Street Festival

Now in its 53rd year, the Sakura Matsuri festival is the largest such event in the United States. More than 40,000 people turned out last year to partake in eight blocks of fun, food and culture. This year, watch J-pop group Magverry or martial arts demonstrations on one of four stages; sample fare from the National Sushi Society or one of 20 other restaurants; or try your hand at calligraphy and origami. Akinori Ogata, the only Japanese NASCAR driver, will be on hand to meet fans, and there will be traditional Japanese wares, anime- and video-game-themed items and handmade Japanese goods for sale.

Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pennsylvania Avenue between Ninth and 14th streets NW. www.sakuramatsuri.org. 202-833-2210. $5, free age 12 and younger.

Anime Marathon

This year’s anime marathon will feature all 26 episodes of the Japanese animated television series “Samurai Champloo,” the story of three outcasts traveling across Edo-era Japan in search of the “samurai who smells of sunflowers.” The show incorporates hip-hop and graffiti, and touches on such elements of the era as ukiyo-e painting and the Dutch East India Company. “Samurai Champloo” is presented in conjunction with the Sackler gallery exhibition “Hand-Held: Gerhard Pulverer’s Japanese Illustrated Books.” Selected episodes will be introduced by such experts as Ian Condry, associate professor of comparative media studies at MIT; Ann Yonemura, senior associate curator for Japanese art at the Freer and Sackler galleries; and Francois Lachaud, professor of Japanese studies at the École française d’Extrême-Orient in Paris.

Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. Freer Gallery of Art, Meyer Auditorium, Jefferson Drive and 12th Street SW. 202-633-1000. www.asia.si.edu. Free.

Kathy Orton is a reporter and Web editor for the Real Estate section. She covers the Washington metropolitan area housing market. Previously, she wrote for the Sports section. She came to The Washington Post in 1996 from the Los Angeles Daily News. She also worked at the Cincinnati Post. She is the author of the book, “Outside the Limelight: Basketball in the Ivy League.”
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