Even More Blooming Events
The Cherry Blossom Festival is close to winding down, but it kicks off its penultimate week with two of its biggest events yet. First, on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade will proceed down the Mall, along Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Street, NW (roughly from the National Gallery of Art to the Washington Monument). There will be marching bands, giant balloons, floats with performers—parade things. You could pay $20 to sit in the grandstand, but you can also watch for free from the Mall, between 9th and 15th Streets.
At the same time, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and just a block away (on Pennsylvania Avenue from 9th to 14th Streets, NW) you’ll find the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival. Watch traditional Japanese dance, J-pop, ninja masters, and “hip hop martial artists” while sampling food from 25 different restaurants and vendors, tasting sake, or enjoying a Kirin at the beer garden. The festival is fenced and there are only five entrances: on the north and south sides of Pennsylvania Avenue at 10th and 13th Streets, and on the south side at 12th Street. It will be extremely busy downtown with both events happening simultaneously, so the festival’s organizers suggest that you get Metro passes in advance and buy your tickets ($5 for adults, free for children under 12) in advance. There will be special lines for advance ticket holders.
Another thing to keep in mind: the free viewing area for the parade is on the south side of Constitution Avenue, which means you won’t be able to go directly from the parade to the street festival—the parade will be in the way. If you want to do both, you should probably plan to catch the tail end of the parade, or set up toward the 9th Street end of the viewing area so you won’t have to go as far to circle around it.
Two Weeks of Film
Filmfest DC, Washington’s oldest and largest film festival, opens its 26th season this Thursday and runs through Sunday, April 22. The more than 80 films selected this year focus especially on international comedies, movies from the Caribbean, and social justice issues. At least a dozen filmmakers will host Q&A sessions following screenings, which take place at seven different locations around Washington, D.C. Most tickets are $11. They can be purchased through the Filmfest DC website, which also has a full list of showtimes and locations.