WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — The weather this year has made it a challenge to predict peak bloom for the District’s iconic cherry blossoms. The national park service is expecting it to be this week. This past weekend marked the official start of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
But the celebration of the cherry blossoms is not limited to the iconic Tidal Basin. From the Wharf to Georgetown, and all over the District, businesses are expecting a lot of traffic this week and beyond.
“It just kicks off the busy season of dc so we always look forward to the Cherry Blossom Festival,” Pamela Sofula, owner of A Beautiful Closet at the Wharf, said.
With peak bloom just about here, the big event draws upwards of one million people to the District to see the iconic cherry blossom trees. Some people even time their trips to line up specifically with peak bloom. Raxit and his wife Ketki Shah planned their trip from Tampa, Florida to line up with peak bloom.
“We changed it [our plane tickets] twice. Because it [peak bloom] was supposed to be on April 4th or something,” Raxit Shah explained. “Then they changed so we just changed [our flight] yesterday and jumped on the flight this morning.”
While there’s plenty to see at the Tidal Basin, the City in Bloom campaign showcases businesses across the city.
Meg Cohen, the Director of Marketing Communications for the National Cherry Blossom Festival, said the festival is not only about the blooming cherry blossom trees. She said the City in Bloom campaign also allows people to explore the city and see which businesses are getting into the spirit to support the festival.
“As much as peak bloom is hard to predict, these businesses are always there and they’re so unique to D.C.,” Cohen said.
Dog Tag Bakery in Georgetown whipped up special treats to celebrate and welcome the increase in foot traffic.
“We see an increase in customers anywhere from 20 to 30 percent and that really helps especially coming out of the winter when it’s usually slow,” Shanel Adams, bakery sales manager at Dog Tag Bakery, said.
Pamela Sofula hopes people will explore beyond the Tidal Basin when they visit the city. Sofula has owned her boutique, A Beautiful Closet, since the Wharf opened in 2019 and is offering special discounts to celebrate peak bloom.
“We get very excited because we get to see so many different people just come into our lovely city,” Sofula said. “We have some other shops, so we encourage people to just explore what the city has to offer.”
There are businesses in all 8 wards as well as in Maryland and Virginia that participating in the City in Bloom campaign. The full list of businesses and special events can be found on the National Cherry Blossom Festival website.