The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade is one of Washington, DC’s largest public events of the year, drawing about 100,000 spectators from around the world.
The parade combines wonderful entertainment for the whole family including decorated floats, gigantic colorful helium balloons, marching bands, clowns, horses, antique cars, military and celebrity performances, 900 youth chorus members, 400 all-star dancers, the Ballou High School Marching Band, the Tamagawa University Taiko Drumming and Dance Troupe, and various cultural performing groups.
Dates for this year's festivities run from March 15 through the parade on April 14, with a variety of events taking place around D.C. all month to celebrate the occasion. Be sure to check the official National Cherry Blossom Festival website for up-to-date information on hosts, performers, and a full schedule of events.
Official Events of the Cherry Blossom Festival
The 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off with a Pink Tie Party fundraiser at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on Thursday, March 15, but the official opening ceremony takes place at the Warner Theater and the SAAM Cherry Blossom Celebration produced by the Smithsonian American Art Museum takes place on Saturday, March 24. The parade itself, presented by Events DC, takes place on April 14.
This year, the Festival also announces it inaugural Petalpalooza at the newly developed District Wharf where guests are invited to enjoy multiple music stages, interactive art, life-sized games, fireworks, and a day-long celebration of all that blossoms in D.C.
Additionally, ARTECHOUSE will present a new augmented reality installation all about cherry blossoms and East Potomac Park will host an inaugural Tennis Tournament. For more information on last year's events, check out this photo gallery so you'll know what to expect on your trip to the Cherry Blossom Festival and Parade.
Parade Route and General Information
This year, the parade route runs along Constitution Avenue beginning at 7th Street and ending at 17th Street, passing many D.C. attractions including the National Archives, the Department of Justice, Smithsonian Museums, the Washington Monument, and the White House.
This is one of the biggest events of the year and parking is extremely limited. The best way to get to the parade is by Metro, and the closest Metro stations are Archives/Navy Memorial, Federal Triangle, and Smithsonian. For more information about getting to the festival, see our Cherry Blossom Festival Transportation Guide.
The parade is free and open to the public, but for $20 to $27 you may purchase a reserved grandstand seat. The reserved seating section is along Constitution Avenue, between 15th and 17th Streets, providing the best view of all the floats and performers. However, space is limited so make sure you reserve your spot today if you plan on purchasing a reserved seat.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual two-week, city-wide event featuring more than 200 international cultural performances and over 90 other special events. For a complete list of performers and events, check out this National Cherry Blossom Festival schedule.