By Sarah Metzel
UJW Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The vivid pink blossoms that have appeared on trees in Washington mark the start of a new season. People from all over the nation gathered along Constitution Avenue on Sunday, April 13, to watch the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade as it moved from 7th to 17th streets.
The springtime festival takes place every year to celebrate the blooming cherry blossom trees in the nation’s capital. The trees were a gift to the United States from Japan in the early 1900s as a symbol of friendship between the two nations.
“The cherry blossoms are a good way to people together to celebrate life,” Cassandra Guichard said. “It’s the dawn of a new season and the beginning of spring.”
Guichard, who is visiting relatives in Washington with her two young sons, hails from Atlanta, Ga. Her boys’ are enjoying an educational spring break, with visits to the Air and Space museum, Natural History museum, and various historic monuments.
“Right now, the weather is beautiful,” Guichard said. “But next time, can you do something about the rain?” She arrived earlier in the week.
Pedicab driver Alex Fry earns his money by providing rides to people in a carriage propelled by his cycling. He has lived in the DC area his entire life, having grown up in Springfield, Va.
“So far, the weather’s been really nice. I only work when there’s nice weather,” Fry said. “For many of the businesses, the weather and cherry blossoms affect their business because the longer they are in bloom, the more money they can make.”
The festival has run from March 20 – April 14 this year. Over the span of four weeks, the DC area has experienced a range of weather conditions(going from general to specific). Many local residents have noticed the late advent of spring.
“A lot of people were disappointed when they planned their trips,” said Fry. “They came too early, and the blossoms came out later than usual.”
The foliage of these trees increases tourism to Washington. While the crowd easily gets caught up with the performances on the street, some spectators are interested in the surrounding nature.
Elizabeth Ramirez, a tree enthusiast, visited the festival from New York City for the first time this year.
“I’m a big fan of trees,” said Ramirez. “I like their colors and everything about them. The cherry blossoms make the festival.”
Ramirez is hoping to spend the rest of her visit exploring the area and seeing the different types of trees.
“Being from New York City, where you don’t have a lot of trees, it’s feels good to get away, relax, and enjoy culture.” said Ramirez.