national cherry blossom festival
When:: Now through April 12.
What:: Annual Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the gift of 3,000 cherry trees from the people of Tokyo to the people of Washington in 1912. Many activities and exhibits, including boat rides, film showings, the Freedom Walk, bike rides, a kite festival and more can be enjoyed by visitors. The annual parade, sponsored by Southwest Airlines, kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday with a multitude of celebrity appearances, including singer Thelma Houston, Miss America 2009 Katie Stam, Elmo and Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek as grand marshal.
How much:: Most festival events are free; a few require paid admission.
What's nearby:: Several restaurants are participating in the annual "Cherry Picks" program with special cherry-blossom inspired cuisine. Menu offerings include cherry cocktails, cherry clafouti, cherry salad and salmon with cherry-basil sauce.
Information:: Go to nationalcherryblossomfestival.org for a complete schedule of programs and activities.