While the fall season continues to naturally decorate D.C. trees and streets with big, beautiful colorful leaves, the people behind the National Cherry Blossom Festival are already gearing up for spring 2024.
With blush décor and cherry blossom displays filling the Pavillion Room at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Building on Nov. 15, guests were transported from a fall evening to a beautiful spring day when the National Cherry Blossom Festival announced the major plans in store for 2024.
“Every year, thousands of visitors come to the nation’s capital to welcome spring in the most joyous way through the National Cherry Blossom Festival,” said Diana Mayhew, president and CEO of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. “Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the blooming cherry trees, the 2024 Festival will be one to remember, as we celebrate the enduring friendship between the United States and Japan through art, culture, performances, and more. Let’s paint Washington, D.C., pink once again!”
This 2024 festival will run from March 20 through April 14 and include staple events such as the opening ceremony (featuring Japanese artists Kaoru Watanabe, Jo Kanamori and Naotaro Morigama), the Pink Tie Party, Petalpalooza and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade on April 13. The Nov. 15, announcement event, which also featured fantastic fare from Casta’s Rum Bar, Truluck’s Ocean’s Finest Seafood & Crab and BUDDY’s D.C., teased a performance from the legendary Sugar Hill Gang as part of the 2024 celebration.
Nicolas Shi was announced as the official artist for the 2024 festival. As a longtime D.C. resident, Shi, who is of Chinese heritage and born in El Salvador, said he was inspired by the beautiful but brief nature of the blossoms, when creating the 2024 artwork.
“As a Washington, D.C., resident, I am aware of the significance and importance of the cherry blossoms to the city. I tried to portray the fleeting beauty of the cherry blossoms in a bright, fun and colorful way,” Shi said in a statement. “By breaking down the complex architectural details of the Washington monument and the delicate beauty of the cherry blossoms into geometric forms, I was able to create a contemporary and fun interpretation of these iconic figures.”
While the annual programming incorporates all eights wards of the District, promotes local businesses, and incorporates D.C. culture, a key component of the festival commemorates an important moment in Japanese and American history, and honors the continued relationship between both countries.
“[The cherry blossoms] were presented as a gift from the city of Tokyo as a symbol of friendship between Japan and the United States in 1912. That is the same year New Mexico and Arizona became the 47th and 48th states, an important moment as the map of the continental United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific was now complete,” said Minister Koichi Ai, deputy chief of Mission for the Embassy of Japan.
As in years past, in 2024, there will be performances and events, highlighting Japanese arts, history and culture, and opportunities for cross-cultural engagement.
Although the month of programming expands across all four District quadrants, the Ronald Reagan International Trade Building, exclusively managed by Trade Center Management Associates (TCMA), serves as a host for many of the National Cherry Blossom Festival events. With a mission of fostering international dialogues and trade, TCMA takes pride in, yet again, serving as a festival host.
“For the past quarter-century as the World Trade Center Washington, D.C., and a venue hosting some of D.C.’s most powerful and prestigious events, our team has created a forum where nations and cultures connect,” said Allyson Browne McKithen, vice president of International Programs of TCMA and executive director of the World Trade Center, Washington, D.C. “The festival is surely one of the nation’s greatest celebrations, honoring the cultural ties between the United States and Japan. We are indeed proud to be hosting the 2024 celebration.”
For more information on the 2024 National Cherry Blossom Festival, go to nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.
Source: Washington Informer