D Kevin McNeirLifestyle

National Cherry Blossom Festival Just Around the Corner

Don’t let a few more days of below-freezing temperatures, bone-chilling nights or intermittent snow showers get you down — the District’s highly-anticipated springtime celebration, the 2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival, kicks off in just a few short weeks.

As always, event sponsors promise superb entertainment — from the winners of the Sing Into Spring Competition, all of whom call the DMV their home, to nationally-known reality stars and a parade down D.C.’s iconic Constitution Avenue replete with elaborate floats, costumed characters, gigantic helium balloons and some of the best marching bands in America.

The four-week Festival (March 20-April 15) will offer a variety of events featuring diverse and creative programming that promote traditional and contemporary arts and culture and community spirit.

Of course, the real “stars” of the annual Festival remain the same: thousands of Mother Nature’s delicate and beautiful cherry blossoms that adorn the area’s landmark Tidal Basin each spring as well as other examples of natural beauty that can be seen throughout the District and in areas nearby.

The celebration begins on Saturday, March 25 with the Opening Ceremony at the historic Warner Theatre in Northwest. The lineup includes: EL Squad (Contemporary Dance), May J. (J-POP), Shigeyama (Kyogen Troupe), The 6821 Quintet (Classical) and Step Afrika! (Stepping).

Events DC will present the nationally-syndicated Parade, one of the District’s largest, yearly events, on Saturday, April 14, showcasing an assortment of pageantry, performances and pomp and circumstance that will leave its viewers with memories that will last a lifetime.

Celebrities and other exciting Parade surprises include: Honorary Grand Marshal: Chef Carla Hall, co-host of ABC’s Emmy Award-winning series “The Chew:” hip-hop trailblazers Arrested Development; Well Strung, a pop/classical string quartet currently on the TV reality show “The Amazing Race;” Grammy-nominated country singer Ty Herndon; Billy Gilman and Sarah Potenza, former contestants on “The Voice;” and Miss America 2018, Cara Mund.
Winners of the Sing Into Spring Competition, one group and two soloists and all local talent from the Greater Washington Area, will also march in the Parade.

The GW Pitches is an all-female a cappella group founded in 1996 – the first all-female ensemble on The George Washington University campus. The 16-member group has performed for the U.S. Department of Energy, the White House and a variety of other organizations in the District.

Summer, born and raised in the Washington area, grew up in church and began singing solos as a young child. During her first solo at age seven, she recognized the incredible impact her special gift of song has on people when she witnessed an audience moved to tears by her performance. Singing became an outlet for Summer to share her soul and inspire listeners.

Musician Emma G works full time as a street performer and also plays in clubs, bars and at community events throughout the city. Emma G describes her sound as soul pop-rock, whose sultry tones are punctuated with a gutsy quality that hammers home her messages of empowerment love and respect.

Media sponsors for various showcased events include 94.7 Fresh FM, WPGC 95.5, El Zol 107.9 and The Washington Informer.

For more information, visit nationalcherryblossomfestival.org or call 877.44.BLOOM. Check out Facebook (CherryBlossomFestival), Twitter (@CherryBlossFest) and Instagram (@CherryBlossFest).

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D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Award-winning journalist and 21-year Black Press veteran, book editor, voice-over specialist and college instructor (Philosophy, Religion, Journalism). Before joining us, he led the Miami Times to recognition as NNPA Publication of the Year.

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