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Stand With Japan fundraiser to kick off Cherry Blossom Festival tonight

National Cherry Blossom Festival organizers will hold a special walk around the Tidal Basin to show support for victims and survivors of Japan’s recent earthquake and tsunami. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

“Our relationship with Japan is at the heart of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and the Festival is uniquely positioned as a natural conduit to unite the millions of people who want to assist and express their support in a show of unity,” an announcement on the festival’s Web site says.

Supporters will meet at the Sylvan Theater, 15th Street and Independence Avenue SW, at 6:30 tonight and walk around the Tidal Basin. Donations will benefit the American Red Cross.

The festival will officially kick off Saturday, coinciding with the cherry blossom blooming period of Saturday through April 7. The peak bloom dates are Tuesday through April 1.

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 (note to drivers: The National Marathon is also Saturday); and share your blossom photos.

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