Tag Archives: Blossom Kite Festival

The Best Events of the 2017 Cherry Blossom Season for Families

blossoms_picnic

There’s much more to cherry blossom season in DC than just the famous flowers. The National Cherry Blossom Festival makes it a great celebration with all kinds of events over several weeks, plus there are even more blossom-inspired happenings that aren’t part of the official festival. Here are the best of them for families to help plan for a peak blossom experience. And be sure to check out this post, too, with tips for cherry blossom viewing. Happy spring!

Cultural Performances
Where: Tidal Basin Welcome Area
When: March 15 – April 2
Admission: Free

Catch live entertainment as you take in views of the blossoms! During the bloom season and most of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, there will be music and dance performances on a special stage set up at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. Enjoy them daily starting March 15 from 12-6pm.

Cherry Blossom Celebration
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: March 25
Admission: Free

Celebration of Japanese culture in the beauitful Kogod Courtyard! A taiko drumming performance will kick off the day, followed by Japanese music and dance performances, face painting, and cherry-blossom themed crafts. Make your own tatebanko (a Japanese paper diorama) with friends from the Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler Gallery, go on a scavenger hunt to find spring themed artworks, and more!

Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress Young Readers Center
When: March 25
Admission: Free

Learn about Japanese culture as you create origami artwork creation, try on kimonos, and enjoy more other activities. Cherry Blossom princesses from the last few years will instruct children in the art of tiara-making. At 11am and 1:30pm, the Japan-America Society of Washington, DC, will present “Japan-In-A-Suitcase,” a program about Japanese life and culture. Following each of these presentations, there will be a karate demonstration along with other attractions. Children can also explore the Library’s Young Readers Center, which is full of current and classic children’s literature – read more about it here.

Friendship Between Nations Family Day
Where: National Archives
When: March 25, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Join the National Archives for a fun, activity filled day exploring the many ways countries show their friendship, such as the gift of the cherry blossoms from Japan to the US. Investigate treaties, learn about some of the crazy gifts countries have given, and participate in interactive activities designed for the entire family to enjoy.

Kites of Asia Heritage Family Day
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: March 25, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Get ready for the Blossom Kite Festival and celebrate spring and Asian heritage! At the Air & Space Museum’s annual event, you can talk to kite experts, see pan-Asian kite displays, marvel at indoor kite flying, make your own kite, and maybe even take a dance lesson!

Go fly a kite on the National Mall!

Go fly a kite on the National Mall!

Blossom Kite Festival
Where: Washington Monument Grounds
When: April 1, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Go fly a kite! Seriously. The Kite Festival is probably my favorite event of the blossom season. The sight of thousands of kites in all colors, shapes, and sizes soaring around the Washington Monument is truly a sight to behold. It’s magical for kids — and even for me as a jaded adult! The sails you see flying at the Festival each spring range from simple to pretty darn creative. Dragons, sharks, butterflies, giant soccer balls, even some that look like big, beautiful origami works way outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so BYO or make one there at an activity station. There’s a competition aspect to the event, too; expert kite enthusiasts will wow crowds with cool stunts, and prizes will be awarded to winners of various categories such as most beautiful, funniest, and aerodynamics.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th Streets NW
When: April 8, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities is easily the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the spectacle of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers travel down Constitution Avenue. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $20, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a pretty spring day.

Sakura Matsuri
Where: M Street & New Jersey Ave. SE
When: April 8, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up in advance, free for 12 and under

Following the Cherry Blossom parade, many folks head over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. There will be live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. All at a new location in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. Be prepared for a crowd.

Family Workshop: Japanese Woodblock Printing
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: April 8-9, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

In celebration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, join the Sackler for opening weekend of Inventing Utamaro and free family activities! In this Open Studio, witness firsthand the beauty and complexity of Japanese woodblock prints. Take a family-friendly tour (offered at 12:30pm and 2:30pm) of the exhibition, then explore traditional tools and papers. A teaching artist demonstrates transferring designs to a block, carving, and basic printing techniques. Come prepared to get your hands inky. All ages welcome!

Anacostia River Festival
Where: Anacostia Park
When: April 9
Admission: Free

The National Park Service and the 11th Street Bridge Park present the 3rd annual Anacostia River Festival, also a premier event of the 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival! Celebrate the Anacostia River with some fun outdoor recreation! Explore the river by canoe, ride in a bike parade, play lawn games with your family, and experience Southeast DC’s local arts scene. This year they’re celebrating biking in the District with trail rides, safety classes, quick bike tune ups, and special bike activities for all ages.

Family Afternoon: Design with Nature
Where: National Building Museum
When: April 9, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

All ages can drop in for creative hands-on activities, a community garden design project, and opportunities to learn about Japanese art and design. See how nature is intentionally integrated into the built world, different ways people design with nature, and how nature can inspire design in and around built spaces. Learn about symbolism of the natural world across cultures and make connections between springtime symbolism, design, nature, and the built world they live in.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
Where: Southwest Waterfront
When: April 15, 2-9:30pm
Admission: Free

This event that takes place along the District Wharf and the Titanic Memorial on the Southwest Waterfront is one of the last of the festival this year. It’s an afternoon and part-evening affair with free live music and family-friendly festivities, including water-related activities, cultural experiences, and delicious foods. The grand finale will begin at 8:30pm when the National Cherry Blossom Festival Fireworks Show lights up the night sky.


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Make Some Family Plans for the 2016 National Cherry Blossom Festival

blossoms_picnic

With the National Park Service’s recent announcement of the predicted cherry blossom peak (March 31 – April 3) and the Capital Weather Gang’s declaration that winter is over and spring is on, it’s time to talk celebration. And the National Cherry Blossom Festival, along with a couple of museums, have it all figured out for us with several weeks of events and activities to enjoy during the prettiest time of year in DC. Here are the best of them for families to help you have a peak blossom experience. Happy spring! (Update: The National Park Service revised their prediction, and the peak is now expected March 18-23.)

Asia Heritage Family Day
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: March 19, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Get ready for the Blossom Kite Festival and celebrate spring and Asian Heritage! Talk to kite experts, see pan-Asian kite displays, marvel at indoor kite flying, make your own kite, and maybe even take a dance lesson! This year’s Kites of Asia Heritage Family Day will have a special focus on Nepal and India.

Make an Okinawan Textile Craft
Where: GW Museum & Textile Museum
When: March 18-20
Admission: Free

Discover Okinawa at this three-day celebration for all ages! Try your hand at origami, traditional bingata painting, and other art activities. Enjoy children’s stories, dance performances, and karate demonstrations. Learn about the geography and natural environment of the island, sample Okinawan treats, and take home a local souvenir. Check the website to see the schedule of events each day.

Family Day at the Building Museum
Where: National Building Museum
When: March 26
Admission: Free

The National Building Museum is hosting their annual event to kick off the cherry blossoms celebration family-style. And they’re doing it with a nod to the National Park Service’s Centennial Anniversary. The day will feature hands-on fun and games focused on parks, planning, landscape design, and architecture. Activities will include folding origami masterpieces, designing a memorial for the National Mall, constructing a tatebanko diorama, meeting DuAro (Kawasaki’s robot), trying on traditional Japanese clothing, and learning more about the National Park Service’s milestone celebration.

Blossom Kite Festival
Where: Washington Monument Grounds
When: April 2, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Go fly a kite! Seriously. The Kite Festival is, in my opinion, the best event during cherry blossom season (when the weather cooperates, anyway). The sight of thousands of kites in all colors, shapes, and sizes soaring around the Washington Monument is truly a sight to behold. It’s absolutely magical for my kids, and even for me as a jaded adult. The sails you see flying at the Festival each spring range from simple to pretty darn creative. Dragons, sharks, butterflies, giant soccer balls, even some that look like intricate works of art actually outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so be sure to bring one. There’s a competition aspect to the event, too; expert kite enthusiasts will wow crowds with cool stunts, and prizes will be awarded to winners of various categories such as most beautiful, funniest, and aerodynamics.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
Where: Southwest Waterfront, 600 Water Street SW
When: April 9, 1-9pm
Admission: Free

A fun family event happening along the water is the annual fireworks show at the Southwest Waterfront. It’s an all-day and part-evening affair with free live music and family-friendly festivities, including water-related activities, cultural experiences, and delicious foods. The grand finale will begin at 8:30pm when the National Cherry Blossom Festival Fireworks Show lights up the night sky.

Family Workshop: Paper Trails
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: April 10 & 16, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

In celebration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, explore the importance of paper across Asian artmaking traditions. With educators from the Freer|Sackler and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, use traditional Japanese papers and bookmaking tools and techniques to create your own artist’s book. This program is designed for children ages 6–12 and adults to enjoy together.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th Streets NW
When: April 16, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities is easily the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the spectacle of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers travel down Constitution Avenue. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $20, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a pretty spring day.

Sakura Matsuri
Where: M Street & New Jersey Ave. SE
When: April 16, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up in advance, free for 12 and under

Following the Cherry Blossom parade, many folks head right over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. There will be live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. All at a new location in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. Be prepared for a crowd.


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Peak Events of the 2015 National Cherry Blossom Festival

2015_blossom_fest

We may be several weeks away from the cherry blossom peak — as of now, it’s expected April 11-14 — but the big annual event celebrating them begins in just a few days. The 2015 National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place March 20 – April 12. And while most of it may not overlap with the best of the bloom, there are plenty of activities offering peak fun, many of them prime for kids. Here’s where you can enjoy the best of the fest.

Family Days at the Building Museum
Where: National Building Museum
When: March 21, March 28, & April 4
Admission: Free

The National Building Museum is switching things up a bit this year and spreading out the Cherry blossom Festival family fun. Instead of the usual larger single festival day to kick off the celebration, they’re hosting a series of workshops. Tokyo Picnic Club invites families to picnic in the Great Hall on March 21, Zen Gardens offers a lesson in Japan famous Zen rock gardens and an opportunity for participants to design and build one of their own on March 28 (prepaid registration required). The Paper Tube Shelter Challenge on April 4 welcomes guests to design, model, and build shelters with recyclable paper tubes (prepaid registration required).

Kites of Asia Family Day
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: March 21, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Get ready for the Blossom Kite Festival and celebrate the artistry and beauty of Asian kites. See kites on display and in the air, discover the diversity of kites from across Asia, and learn how kites helped the Wright brothers develop the first airplane. Guests can fashion a Chinese Dragon puppet, color a Thai-style kite, and make a Philippian leaf kite at hands-on stations. There will also be kite-themed storytimes — see the website for times and details.

Make an Okinawan Textile Craft
Where: GW Museum & Textile Museum
When: March 22
Admission: Free

Celebrate the (re)opening of the Textile Museum since its merger with GWU and the Cherry Blossom Festival! The museum will host an exhibition on textiles from Okinawa and welcomes guests of all ages to learn about and make artwork inspired by brightly colored bingata, traditional Okinawan cloth made using stencils and resist dyeing.

Blossom Kite Festival
Where: Washington Monument Grounds
When: March 28, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Go fly a kite! Seriously. The Kite Festival is, in my opinion, the best event during cherry blossom season (when the weather cooperates, anyway). The sight of thousands of kites in all colors, shapes, and sizes soaring around the Washington Monument is truly a sight to behold. It’s absolutely magical for my kids, and even for me as a jaded adult. The sails you see flying at the Festival each spring range from simple to pretty darn creative. Dragons, sharks, butterflies, giant soccer balls, even some that look like intricate works of art actually outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so be sure to bring one. There’s a competition aspect to the event, too; expert kite enthusiasts will wow crowds with cool stunts, and prizes will be awarded to winners of various categories such as most beautiful, funniest, and aerodynamics.

Cherry Blossom Celebration
Where: Freer-Sackler Galleries
When: March 28
Admission: Free

The galleries dedicated to Asian art are celebrating the 2015 National Cherry Blossom Festival with a day full of Japanese art, anime and manga films, and family activities. The museum shop is hosting a trunk show of vintage Japanese garments as well as a signing of the newly released book Cherry Blossoms, featuring artworks from the Freer and Sackler collections.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
Where: Southwest Waterfront, 600 Water Street SW
When: April 4, 1-9pm
Admission: Free

A fun family event happening along the water is the annual fireworks show at the Southwest Waterfront. It’s an all-day and part-evening affair with free live music and family-friendly festivities, including water-related activities, cultural experiences, and delicious foods. The grand finale will begin at 8:30pm when the National Cherry Blossom Festival Fireworks Show lights up the night sky.

Cherry Blossom Family Celebration
Where: 8th & G Streets, NW
When: April 4, 11:30am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Cherry Blossom season with the Smithsonian American Art Museum! Enjoy traditional Japanese music and dance performances while you make tatebanko (Japanese paper dioramas) with guests from the Freer | Sackler. Fold origami birds and learn about preparing your garden for the spring from Smithsonian Gardens.

Lantern Making Family Day
Where: Canal Park
When: April 4, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Bring the whole family to construct Japanese lanterns at the Capitol Riverfront area park. There will be two sessions of the activity, at 10am and 12pm. Moonbouncing and Japanese cultural activities will also be happening throughout the event for kids to enjoy.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th Streets NW
When: April 11, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities is, hands-down, the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the spectacle of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers travel down Constitution Avenue. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $20, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a pretty spring day.

Sakura Matsuri
Where: Pennsylvania Avenue, 9th – 14th Streets NW
When: April 11, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $10/ages 13 and up, free for 12 and under

Immediately following the Cherry Blossom parade, many folks head right over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. Stretching down six city blocks from 9th to 14th Streets on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, there will be live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. Be prepared for a crowd.


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The Weekend Round-Up: March 29-30

A sky full of sails at last year's Blossom Kite Festival

A sky full of sails at last year’s Blossom Kite Festival



The weather may dictate activities this weekend, but no matter what the conditions outside, you’ve got plenty of options for a good time with the kids. And for ideas beyond this round-up, check out the Everyday Play page with a lengthy list of mainstay fun around the DC-Metro. Happy Weekend!

Go Fly a Kite!
Where: Washington Monument Grounds
When: Sunday, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

The annual Blossom Kite Festival is, in my humble opinion, the best event during cherry blossom season (when the weather cooperates, anyway). The sight of thousands of kites in all colors, shapes, and sizes soaring around the Washington Monument is truly one to behold. It’s absolutely magical for my kids, and even for me as a jaded adult. The sails you see flying at the Festival each spring range from simple to pretty darn creative. Dragons, sharks, butterflies, giant soccer balls, even some that look like intricate works of art actually outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so be sure to bring one. There’s a competition aspect to the event, too; expert kite enthusiasts will wow crowds with cool stunts, and prizes will be awarded to winners of various categories such as most beautiful, funniest, and aerodynamics. (Note: This was originally scheduled for Saturday, but will now take place Sunday due to weather.)

Make Your Mark
Where: National Archives
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Head to the National Archives and explore the many ways people have placed their signature on history, from developing a signature style to signing groundbreaking policy into law. To celebrate the opening of the new exhibit, “Making Their Mark,” this special Family Day welcomes all ages for hands-on activities in the Boeing Learning Center. Guests can write with a quill pen, make signature hats: pillbox hat, Lincoln hat, tri-corner hat, take a tour of the exhibit, enjoy story time, mock curate an exhibit, and much more.

Opening Weekend on the Farm
Where: Ticonderoga Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $9.95 (under age 2 are free)

With spring comes a host of seasonal activities at Ticonderoga Farm! You can visit with the spring farm animals, do some bird watching and animal tracking, aalong with their myriad other attractions – think swings, hayrides, a maze, and much more. Be sure to check the website for timing of any specific activities. And this Saturday & Sunday is Spring Scout Weekend at the farm, so boy and girls can bring their troop# identification for FREE admission. For an idea of what’s at Ticonderoga, see this post about their Winter Festival and this one about a field trip there.

Garden Party
Where: Community Forklift
When: Saturday, 9am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

Now in its fifth year, Community Forklift’s Garden Party has become a local tradition, drawing gardeners, hipsters, farmers, and families from around the DC area. Get low-cost garden supplies and seedlings, enjoy live music, participate in hands-on activities like barrel painting and seed planting, and join several free workshops for gardeners young and old. Concessions will be for sale starting at 11am. And adults, children, and (leashed) pets will earn discounts and possibly prizes for sporting their best garden party attire. Last year, the nonprofit reuse center celebrated the arrival of spring with over 1,200 visitors, and this year’s free event is expected to be even bigger! It will take place at their large warehouse at 4671 Tanglewood Drive in Edmonston, MD.

Environmental Film Fest
Where: Various locations
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Varies by film

Over 200 diverse films from 38 countries will be screened at 65 venues around the DC-Metro area during the 22nd annual Environmental Film Festival. And there are a few family-oriented flicks among them this weekend. Nature Unfolds – Animated Shorts will be at the National Gallery of Art. And Africa: Kalahari and A Year in the Wild: Snowdonia will be screened at the Natural History Museum. Be sure to check the film festival website for showtimes and details on films.

Tree Fest
Where: Tudor Place
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Salute Tudor Place’s “witness trees” and other gifts of the natural world found in the city with a free festival in the Garden. Games, puppets, storytelling, a tree tour, and an artisanal Market Fair offering sustainable merchandise will be part of the festivities. You can also see a new white oak just planted in the North Garden to replace the towering sentinel lost last year.

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

* Inside Out, theatre aimed at the toddler and preschool crowd is on the Imagination Stage.
* Enjoy theatre on strings at The Puppet Co., where Hansel & Gretel just opened on the main stage and Animal Crackers and Old McDonald’s Farm are the featured Tiny Tots show.
* The Adventures of Robin Hood is opening at the Kennedy Center.
* Strathmore presents Saturday Morning at the National performance.
* Rainbow Rockis playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin’ Java.
* See Ballet Hispanico Family Matinee at the BlackRock Center for the Arts.
* The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is at Ford’s Theatre through May 17.

Domo Origato, Mr. Roboto
Where: The Patriot Center
When: Through Saturday
Admission: Free

The FIRST Robotics Competition is the culmination of six weeks of work by teams of high school students from around the region. Combining the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology, they work with with hundreds of components, including engineering mainstays such as programmable radio controllers, motors, electrical circuitry and mechanical parts to build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. And the public is invited to check out the innovative creations that result from the contest!

Baby Love Disco
Where: The Fillmore in Silver Spring
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: $15

The family dance party is back in the area, but this time in Silver Spring. The fun will feature BLD’s signature DJ and MC, along with other kids activities and snacks. The MC will pump up the crowd, and the DJ will spin G-rated dance tunes, while kids and parents groove along and enjoy the disco.

Are you Q?rius
Where: Natural History Museum
When: Friday 2-5pm, Saturday & Sunday 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

With rain in the forecast, Q?rius is a great place to take shelter: The new interactive and experiential learning space at the Natural History Museum is, in a word, AWESOME. Visitors can view up close – and in many cases handle – real artifacts and specimens from the museum’s collections. Microscopes let young guests feel like real scientists, and drawers full of everything from animals species to cultural relics are accessible for examination. And even though it’s been promoted as a space for teens and tweens, younger children definitely can appreciate it, too.

Portrait Story Days
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Saturday, 1-4pm & Sunday, 2-5pm
Admission: Free

Drop in to listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art. This weekend, learn about labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta.

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Peak Time in DC: The 2013 National Cherry Blossom Festival

DC at its peak last year

DC at its peak last year



How appropriate that the first day of spring also marks the start of the 2013 National Cherry Blossom Festival. If only the weather would follow suit. But I digress…

This is one of my favorite times of year in DC. Between the gorgeous flowers complementing the scenery around the National Mall and the many unique events that come along with the Festival, it’s a superb time to be here. Sure, the crowds descend on the city to ogle the blooming trees, but to me that’s a testament to what a beautiful, dynamic, and exciting place Washington is, a sought-after destination for travelers from all over the world.

The official start of the Festival is today, but the events that are open to the public — many of them free — begin this weekend. I’ve pared down the lot to make one easy list of the best for families. If it looks familiar, that’s because much of it is the same as last year, just with updated dates and details. Happy Spring!

Family Days at the Building Museum
Where: National Building Museum
When: Saturday & Sunday, March 23-24
Admission: Free
Kicking off public festival events for the 8th consecutive year, this program at the National Building Museum offers kids of all ages (and that means the kid in you, parents!) all kinds of hands-on activities inspired by Japanese culture as a tribute to the trees gifted by them. Build Cha-shitsu tea house structures and Soji screens, construct a paper torii gate, make wafuku-clothed paper dolls, and design a cherry blossom tree from popcorn. There will also be exciting performances that celebrate spring and explore Japanese arts and design, Nen Daiko taiko drummers, Kaution Dance Kru, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and youth arts groups from D.C. and across the country. And be sure to bring a camera along for photo ops with some of kids’ favorite characters like Snoopy and The Lorax.

Kites of Asia Family Day
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: Saturday, March 23, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Get ready for the Blossom Kite Festival and celebrate the unique start of the National Air and Space Museum’s collection — the first aviation-related objects acquired by the Smithsonian were a group of Chinese kites, donated in 1876. At this annual Family Day, experience the artistry and beauty of Asian kites, see indoor kite flying, and make your own kite.

Blossom Kite Festival
Where: Washington Monument Grounds
When: Saturday, March 30, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Go fly a kite! Seriously. The Kite Festival is, in my humble opinion, the best event during cherry blossom season (when the weather cooperates, anyway). The sight of thousands of kites in all colors, shapes, and sizes soaring around the Washington Monument is truly a sight to behold. It’s absolutely magical for my kids, and even for me as a jaded adult. The sails you see flying at the Festival each spring range from simple to pretty darn creative. Dragons, sharks, butterflies, giant soccer balls, even some that look like intricate works of art actually outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so be sure to bring one. There’s a competition aspect to the event, too; expert kite enthusiasts will wow crowds with cool stunts, and prizes will be awarded to winners of various categories such as most beautiful, funniest, and aerodynamics.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
Where: Southwest Waterfront, 600-900 Water Street SW
When: Saturday, April 6, 1-9pm
Admission: Free

A fun family event happening along the water is the annual fireworks show at the Southwest Waterfront. It’s an all-day and part-evening affair with free live music and family-friendly festivities, including water-related activities, cultural experiences, and delicious foods. The grand finale will begin at 8:30pm when the National Cherry Blossom Festival Fireworks Show lights up the night sky.

Arts for Families: Koinobori
Where: Textile Museum
When: Saturday, April 6, 2-4pm
Admission: Free

This session of the Textile Museum’s free monthly program for families celebrates the Cherry Blossom Festival: In Japanese folklore, the carp is a symbol of determination and vigor, overcoming all obstacles to swim upstream. Families can drop in to the museum to explore pattern and texture as you create your own colorful paper koi mobiles.

Lantern Making Family Day
Where: Yards Park
When: Saturday, April 13, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Bring the whole family to construct Japanese lanterns at the Capitol Riverfront park. There will be two sessions of the activity, at 10am and 12pm, both followed by a parade through the Yards. Martial arts and a moonbouncing will also be happening throughout the event for kids to enjoy. Sushi and other Japanese foods will be available for purchase or BYO — either way it’s a great place for a picnic.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th Streets NW
When: Saturday, April 13, 10am – 12:30pm
Admission: Free
The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities is, hands-down, the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the spectacle of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers travel down Constitution Avenue. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $20, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a pretty spring day.

Sakura Matsuri
Where: 12th Street & Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
When: Saturday, April 13, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $5/ages 13 and older
Immediately following the Cherry Blossom parade, many folks head right over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. Stretching down six city blocks from 9th to 14th Streets on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, there will be live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. Be prepared for a crowd.


ImaginAsia Art Activities

Where: Freer-Sackler Galleries
When: April 6,7, 13 & 14
Admission: Free
The National Museums of Asian Art will host a a couple of activities for families during the festival’s run, both of them hands-on. Kids can create Japanese book based on folios featuring cherry blossoms and scenes and activities related to springtime. There will also be anime-focused exhibitions and activities.

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