First lady Michelle Obama will be the honorary chair of the Cherry Blossom festival next year as the event celebrates its centennial, festival officials announced Wednesday.

Festival chair Diana Mayhew also announced that the two-week festival is being expanded to five weeks to mark the 100th anniversary of the planting of the trees in 1912. The festival will run from March 20 to April 27.

“Each year the world... pauses to celebrate” the beauty of the trees, said D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, who was present at the festival preview luncheon at the Convention Center. He pointed out that there is a cherry blossom tree in every ward.

The annual Cherry Blossom parade will be held Saturday, April 24, organizers said.

The festival also has selected Peter Max to be its official artist.