Festival Concludes with the National Cherry Blossom Parade (photos)

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Yuki Tatsumi, 2018-2019 Japan Cherry Blossom Queen and 2019 National Cherry Blossom Queen Tilea West (Washington State) Photo by Jeff Malet.

Gray skies gave way to sunshine and warmth just in time as the District’s celebration of Spring, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, concluded on Saturday, April 13, as marching bands, floats, dance troupes and giant helium balloons marched 10 blocks up Constitution Ave. for the Cherry Blossom Parade.

Immediately following the parade, the U.S. Navy Memorial hosted the 29th Annual Blessing of the Fleet, a centuries-old tradition that protects sailors from the dangers of the sea. Each year, starting in 1987 when it was dedicated, the Navy Memorial blesses the water in its outdoor fountains with water from the Seven Seas and the Great Lakes.

While the spectacular white Yoshino cherry trees surrounding the Tidal Basin have shed their blossoms, a few of the Kwanzan flowering variety, the showiest of cherry trees, were exploding in spectacular pink. (Kwanzan trees typically bloom about two weeks after Yoshino trees.)

Though it’s sad to see the cherry blossom season end, our attention can now focus on the tulips which can be seen in abundance around the National Mall and on Capitol Hill.

View Jeff Malet’s photos from the National Cherry Blossom Parade by clicking on the photo icons below.

Click the links below to see related photo essays by Jeff Malet:

National Cherry Blossom Lantern Lighting Ceremony (April 7, 2019)

Blossom Kite Festival (March 30, 2019)

National Cherry Blossom Opening Ceremony (March 23, 2019)

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