Strong winds and low temperatures at the beginning of this week put an end to the cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin, but nothing short of a typhoon will stop Saturday's Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. Starting at 12:30, Washington's largest annual parade will march down Constitution Avenue, displaying a rainbow of colors in a fleet of floats, antique Rolls Royces, motorcycles, breakdancers, American Indians, horses, Japanese Akita dogs, Beetle Bailey and Betty Boop, not to mention 27 marching bands from around the nation. NBC's Ed McMahon will perform the Grand Marshall duties while actor Ted Knight and singer Marilyn McCoo share the Master of Ceremonies work. All grandstand seats have been sold but standing-room (free) can easily be had on Constitution Avenue from Seventh Street to 17th Street NW. (If you can't get downtown to watch, Channel 5 is broadcasting the parade live at 1).
If you missed the blossoms, there's still more Japanese culture blooming around town this weekend. Admirers of Japanese poster art can head to the Circle Room of the Dupont Plaza Hotel after the parade. From 4 to 7, the Shoshin Society, a non-profit Japanese-American education association, will hold an auction and sale of peace posters, advertising design and large subway advertising by top graphic designers.
There are still some tickets for Sunday afternoon's "Music From Japan" concert in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall at 3. The Opera House Orchestra and the Sidwell Friends Middle School Chorus with pianist Akira Jinno, led by conductor Gunther Schuller, will perform a 90-minute program of symphonic and choral works by four of Japan's leading composers. Tickets are $5, $20 and $25. Call Instant-Charge, 857-0900 or the Box Office, 254-3600. And from Friday though Sunday at the Pavilion at the Old Post Office, from 11 to 6, there'll be free demonstrations of Japanese calligraphy, doll-making, origami, fine arts, sushi preparation and karate and Japanese dance exhibitions and guest musical groups. Exit from Metro's Orange and Blue lines at Federal Triangle.