Did you know the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. The gift and annual celebration honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries.
It took the coordination of many to ensure the arrival of the cherry trees. The first 2,000 trees arrived diseased in 1910, but did not deter the parties. In a simple ceremony on March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft of Cincinnati and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two trees from Japan on the north bank of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival has grown from modest beginnings to the nation’s greatest springtime celebration. School children reenacted the initial planting and other activities, holding the first “festival” in 1927.
Today, the Festival spans four weekends and welcomes more than 1.5 million people to enjoy diverse programming and the millions of pink blossoms on the trees. First Transit is in the cherry blossom spirit! #BlossomBus is wrapped in blooms to celebrate spring. Transit’s DC Circulator provides public transportation to the District’s main attractions and most lively neighborhoods for business, culture and entertainment at a cost of only $1.
The system consists of six distinct routes across Washington, DC, and even into Rosslyn, VA, and provides close to five million trips a year. With a fleet of 67 buses and a staff of more than 225, the Circulator services each of its 136 stops every 10 minutes, providing simple, fast and affordable transit to residents, commuters and visitors to more than 25 museums, monuments and memorials along the National Mall. Information courtesy of nationalcherryblossomfestival.org