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The Baltimore Sun

Spring may have officially started Wednesday, but as anyone knows, spring really begins with the start of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington. This year's festival, which kicks off Saturday and runs through April 15, features daily cultural performances, arts and crafts demonstrations, sporting events and various other events throughout the district.

The festival is a commemoration of the gift of 3,000 cherry trees from the people of Tokyo to the people of Washington in 1912. This year's opening-day ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. N.W., with remarks from Washington dignitaries, the introduction of the National Cherry Blossom Festival Goodwill Ambassadors and live music by Japanese flutist and percussionist Masazuku Yoshizawa. Throughout the day Saturday, the museum will present its National Cherry Blossom Festival Family Day. On April 7, there will be a fireworks display on the Southwest Waterfront, and April 14 visitors can enjoy a grand parade and Japanese Street Festival.

For a full listing of National Cherry Blossom Festival activities and locations, go to nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.

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