WASHINGTON (WJZ)—A groundhog may forecast winter, but when it comes to spring, it’s tough to beat Washington’s cherry blossoms.

Alex DeMetrick reports the forecast for the annual blooming is out, and D.C.is hoping for plenty of visitors and their money.

Branches are still bare, but 3,000 cherry trees that ring Washington’s Tidal Basin are moving toward a burst of spring that traditionally draws one million visitors each year.

“Beautiful flowers. Walking around, you feel like you’re in a movie. Lots of people out there,” said Patrick Tart, describing his Cherry Blossom experience.

“We came hoping that they would start blooming and would be out, but I think we missed it by a couple weeks,” said Rachel Kerny, D.C. visitor.

Tourists in town now are out of luck when it comes to blossom viewing by more than a couple of weeks.

“The 2011 forecast for the peak bloom will be March 29 through April 3,” said Rob DeFeo, National Park Service.

The trees are just beginning to bud right now. But when they bloom, the local economy booms.

“Over $100 million is generated in economic impact,” said Cherry Blossom Festival President Diana Mayhew during the 2010 festival. “[It’s great] for restaurants, hotels.”

Blooms should hit in the middle of this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival, and organizers are hoping all that pink will again spread plenty of green around town.

“When budgets are lean and times are tough, we’re just so pleased people come here and invest in our city,” said Deputy Mayor Victor Hoskins.

“I’ve seen pictures and a couple of the kids from our group have been and they said it’s completely gorgeous, so it gives me reason to come back,” Kerny said. “That’s what I’m planning to do.”

And that’s just what D.C. wants to hear.

This year’s Cherry Blossom Festival runs March 26-April 10.

Comments (12)
  1. gerrygriff says:

    What a croc of s….t. Citizens now have to pay an entrance fee to see what was given to us as a gift from the Japanese? What has this world come to besides a scam for the crooks to make a fast buck. I’m glad my time is coming to an end. I remember the days when no streets were barricaded off, you could even go through the white house & all the memorials. What a sad mess we have become.

  2. Theresa says:

    ….The fee is only for the street fair, not for the entire festival. It’s pretty clear in the article.

  3. youseff says:

    I don’t give a rat’s ass, Everybody is trying to rip off the consumers. Free country, free speech, free air to breathe but we’ll charge you $5 to get in & participate. How about free & then more people will come but Oh, they want to weed out the undesirables & keep away the poor. F……K them, I hope it pours rain every day.

  4. john says:

    everybody wants the government to cut spending so here is one example. why should the government pay for you to pee and poop (port a pots aren’t free) and trash removal (trash removal isn’t free) after everyone who attends has finished dropping their garbage on the streets.

    1. youseff says:

      John, More money is spent taking the president on Air Force -1 with his entourage for one speaking engagement that the Friggin cost of cleaning up the Mall or Cherry blossom festival. The poor taxpayers deserve a day out with there families.

      1. john says:

        i saw other comments by you on other articles. you are such a negative complainer, that i now think the $5 fee is so that people like you stay home.

      2. uni7 says:

        John, ….Eat s…t & die!

  5. Gary says:

    I guess I am missing something. The article say $5 for the street fair, one of the popular events. Everything else is open and free as usual. Nothing has changed there, but if you want to upgrade to business class its gonna cost you. So go see all the cherry blossoms you want and its free, but if you want to be entertained by people that are probably spending their time and money to be there then you have to pay $5.00. You cannot got to the movies for that price. And if you don’t like the price then you have the option of staying home. Quit your whining and crying and go spend $50 for two movie tickets and a nickels worth of popcorn rather then giving it to someone or a group that is directly entertaining you. You must be a liberal.

    1. uni7 says:

      Spoken like a true conservative Tea bagger Republican. I got mine so f……k you get yours. Once the belly is full & you feel safe you people preach all that Regan B.S. like: “Lift yourself up by your own bootstraps” but don’t mess those boots up while standing on the backs of the poor or hungry…..They don’t matter…Health care? their version is “I don’t care”.

      1. Andrew Stevens says:

        are you able to comment on anything without namecalling. If you don’t want to pay the $5 then don’t goto that part. Life isn’t free get over it. Noone is obligated to pay for anything.

  6. Gary says:

    True Tea bagger republican??? I really don’t know who you are trying to profile, but your behavior analysis is way off base. It completely coincides with your in ability to properly spell the name of one of our Presidents. Its spelled “Reagan”. Also in question should be your maturity level and why you feel the overwhelming desire to inject profanity into your comments. Before you judge anyone you should consider furthering your education so you can at least appear somewhat educated.

    Even the poor and the hungry can enjoy the cherry blossoms. Maybe you missed it, but its free. And I am quite certain everyone can both “poop and pee” for free also. The government is covering that. But if you want to enjoy the additional entertainment, its going to cost you a mere $5.00. No one is saying you have to do this. Its not mandatory. Its an option, an upgrade. Its like going to the mall and walking through the food court and eating the free samples they give you. The sample is free , but if you want the meal with a drink and some fried rice its going to cost you. So uni7, go pull on your boots by their bootstraps and fill up your belly so that even though you are poor you wont be hungry and leave threads like this to the big dogs. Kindergarten is down the hall on the right

  7. haha says:

    HA! I’m more entertained by ya’lls bantering than the article. I’ll pay you both 5 bucks to carry on!

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