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Lawmakers Officially Open Cherry Blossom Festival

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Thousands of residents flocked to the Tidal Basin Saturday for opening day of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.
Peter Granitz
Thousands of residents flocked to the Tidal Basin Saturday for opening day of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.

By Peter Granitz

Today is the second day of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington. The festival got its start last evening at the annual opening ceremony.

At the National Building Museum Saturday afternoon, lawmakers and festival organizers officially opened the 98th National Cherry Blossom Festival.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton says the opening ceremony has become a necessary tradition to the city. She says residents here don't rely on traditional methods like meteorologists to tell them when spring begins.

"We don't even go by the blooming of the blossoms, because sometimes they are early and sometimes they are late," says Norton. "We know its spring because of this ceremony. That's how we know it."

The jovial mood permeated throughout all the room, including to Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki. The Ambassador poked fun at the politics in this town, saying he wondered what options he had for the festival if this winter's snow did too much damage to the blossoms.

"I thought maybe I needed to use some special technique like deem and bloom," he joked.

Event organizers say they expect the peak blooms April first and second.

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