(WASHINGTON) — The iconic pink blossoms lining Washington D.C.’s tidal basin are expected to make their appearance historically early this year.
The Yoshino cherry trees are predicted to reach peak bloom — when 70 percent of the blossoms are open — between March 14 and 17. According to the National Parks Service, this could be the earliest date on record.
Because of the early bloom period, the National Cherry Blossom Festival will kick off on March 15 this year, five days earlier than scheduled.
The tidal basin cherry blossom trees were a gift from Japan to the U.S. and the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the friendship between the two nations.
“This National Cherry Blossom Festival is the biggest, greatest, most fun celebration of U.S.-Japan friendship anywhere in the world,” Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae said at a press conference Wednesday morning. “I don’t need to say ‘Make this cherry blossom festival great again,’ because it’s already great.”
The 2017 event marks the 90th anniversary of the first festival and the 105th anniversary of Japan’s tree donation. The month-long celebration features parties, cultural events, a parade, a kite festival and fireworks.
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