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.