The cherry blossoms have inspired hundreds of readers to send in haikus in honor of the humble bloom. (Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP)

This year, it’s hard to think about the festival without also thinking of the recent disaster in Japan. Festival organizers have planned ways for the public to donate to relief efforts and show support for the Japanese people. On March 24, you can take park in a fundraising walk around the Tidal Basin. The Japan-America Society announced that it will aid the Red Cross by collecting donations from visitors and donating a percentage of the profits from the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s Sakura Matsuri street festival on April 9.