WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington’s famous cherry blossoms have hit peak bloom ahead of this weekend’s National Cherry Blossom Festival.

The National Park Service says the trees reached peak bloom Friday afternoon, a day ahead of what had been forecast. Saturday marks the culmination of the festival, which includes an annual parade and Japanese street festival.

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The trees have bloomed about the same time the past two years. With most trees in bloom this weekend, organizers expect big crowds around the Tidal Basin and National Mall.

Festival President Diana Mayhew says early mornings are a good time to beat the crowds.

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The festival parade Saturday morning will be followed by the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival on Saturday afternoon.

The cherry blossom festival closes Sunday with a new Anacostia River Festival.

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