Tourists, locals gather to watch centennial celebration

Photo by Sean Burke

By Sean Burke
UJW Staff Writer

WASHINGTON – People from all over the world, such as Emily Sylvest and her
boyfriend Liam Stillman, attended the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade on
April 14.

Sylvest and Stillman have been coming to the festival every year. Sylvest said she
has enjoyed every single one she has come to.

“I went to a cherry blossom parade in Japan one time and it really compares to this
one,” said Sylvest, who lived in Japan for two years.

Lisa Simmons, originally from Okinawa, Japan said, “I adore this parade. It’s my first
time seeing it and I love every bit of it.”

Entertainers and athletes joined in the parade that celebrated cherry blossom trees
in America presented as a gift from Japan 100 years ago.

Figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, an Olympic gold medalist, rode through the parade
in a brown horse-drawn carriage waving to her fans that stood along the parade
route and in the grandstand.

The crowd sang along with Grammy Award winner Chaka Khan as performers
danced around on her float.

Entertainers weren’t the only notable parade attendees. Ichiro Fujisaki, the Japanese
ambassador to the United States, was handing out bracelets to the crowd that noted
the event with the phrase “Japan-U.S. Friendship” on them.

At every stop along the way, a food stand with ice cream and hot dogs was there for
quenching people’s appetites.

Members of Jews for Jesus handed out guides of the National Mall to parade

“The sights and smells [at the festival] were amazing,” said Bowie resident John
Stow, who was standing along Constitution Avenue watching the parade.

D.C. police cars were also stationed at every intersection to keep crowd control and
ensure no one got injured.

Sam Price brought her 6-year-old son, Cade, to the parade for the first time.

“I enjoy this so much, I love it when the city does these types of things,” Sam Price

“I loved seeing Kermit,” said an enthusiastic Cade Price about one of the many sky-
high balloons at the festival.


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