Washington’s famed cherry blossoms are days away from blooming. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

It’s not uncommon for the Park Service to tweak bloom dates, especially given the early prediction three weeks ago and fickle weather we’ve been experiencing.

While the festival doesn’t officially start until this weekend, organizers will hold a special fundraising event, called “Stand with Japan,” this Thursday in support of victims and survivors of the recent earthquake and tsunami. Supporters will meet at the Washington Monument on Thursday evening and walk around the Tidal Basin; donations will benefit the American Red Cross.

For more information about the blooms and the festival, check out The Post’s full coverage page. There you can download a map and podcast; find a traveler’s guide with event, traffic and transit information (the National Marathon this Saturday will throw an additional twist in the always-fun D.C. traffic); and share your blossom photos.