Nothing says spring is on the way more than the first cherry blossoms of the season. As you wait for the rest of the trees to catch up so you can celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C., find out everything you probably didn't know about the celebration:
He gave . In return, the United States gave Tokyo flowering dogwood trees. But some don't know that this wasn't Tokyo's first attempt to give us a gift. Two years prior, Ozaki sent over 2,000 trees that turned out to be disease-ridden (and had to be burned).
The first lady at the time, , and the wife of the Japanese ambassador, , broke the soil for the planting. Here's a photo of the first lady with her husband, President William Howard Taft.
came up with the idea after visiting Japan in 1885 and suggested it to the First Lady. Clearly, she thought it was a fantastic plan.
But it wasn't until 1935 that the first inaugural first took place. Today, the celebration includes a variety of events and even crowns a festival queen.
That's because after the bombing of , several trees were cut down in protest. But after the war ended, the celebration resumed in 1947.
Can't make it to ? You can still watch a of the blooms.
Here's "Lady Bird" Johnson breaking soil on the trees, which she decided to plant on the northern bank of the . Today, that location is the premier spot for the annual festival.
And the Peak Bloom Date is when 70% of blossoms are open. The National Park has a set up to help predict when this will take place — this year it's March 31 to April 3.
You just have to the for a permit.