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Shutdown Could Affect Cherry Blossom Parade In D.C.

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A woman (R) takes pictures of cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 29, 2011 in Washington, DC. Americans celebrating the beauty of Washington's landmark pink cherry blossoms this spring have at heart the tragedies jolting Japan, which gave the trees to the United States. More than 27,000 people are dead or missing, and two weeks after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami crippled the aging nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, rescue work is still under way to avoid a major nuclear disaster. As many as one million people are expected to stream through the Mall esplanade area during the Cherry Blossom Festival from March 26 through April 10. (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman (R) takes pictures of cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 29, 2011 in Washington, DC. Americans celebrating the beauty of Washington’s landmark pink cherry blossoms this spring have at heart the tragedies jolting Japan, which gave the trees to the United States. More than 27,000 people are dead or missing, and two weeks after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami crippled the aging nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, rescue work is still under way to avoid a major nuclear disaster. As many as one million people are expected to stream through the Mall esplanade area during the Cherry Blossom Festival from March 26 through April 10. (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Organizers of the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade in Washington said Wednesday they are appealing a decision to cancel the parade in the event of a government shutdown.

A federal budget official said Wednesday that if there is a government shutdown, the parade would be canceled. The parade runs along Constitution Avenue, which is partly National Park Service jurisdiction. Part of the road, though, is under local jurisdiction.

The parade is expected to draw about 5,000 participants, with one group traveling from as far away as Japan, according to festival organizers.

“People are already on their way, so we’re not ready to back down yet,” said spokeswoman Danielle Piacente. “We’re ready to appeal to whoever we can to keep the parade going.”

She said many other events would not be interrupted by the government’s budget troubles, but a Japanese street festival Saturday on Pennsylvania Avenue and scheduled performances might be.

The two-week cherry blossom festival is a 99-year-old tradition in Washington and draws more than 1 million people a year to see the city’s pink and white cherry tree blossoms.

For the parade, 13 marching bands scheduled to participate, including bands traveling from Ohio, Indiana, Georgia, Alabama and New York. Parade sponsorships also are sold to help fund the festival.

National Park Service spokesman Bill Line said that it’s too soon to know what will happen because officials don’t know whether there will be a government shutdown.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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