WASHINGTON (Jan. 19, 2012)—Washington’s cherry blossom trees have enchanted residents and visitors for a century. In the spring of 2012, the National Cherry Blossom Festival will celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Tokyo to our nation’s capital. To mark the event, National Geographic is publishing CHERRY BLOSSOMS: The Official Book of the National Cherry Blossom Festival (National Geographic Books; on sale Feb. 28, 2012; ISBN 978-1-4262-0921-5; hardcover; $30), written by Ann McClellan and photographed by Ron Blunt.
The book tells the story of how the gift of trees in 1912 spawned the nation’s greatest springtime celebration, which has grown into an eagerly anticipated, multiweek, event-filled extravaganza attended by more than a million people annually. Richly illustrated with historical images as well as sumptuous photographs of cherry blossoms and National Cherry Blossom Festival festivities, the book includes a history of the cherry blossoms, signature events of the yearly Festival and best ways to enjoy it, community celebrations and entertainment. It also features the different varieties of cherry blossoms and includes places around the nation where one can enjoy the beautiful blooms.
National Geographic will also publish a children’s book, CHERRY BLOSSOMS SAY SPRING (National Geographic Books; on sale Feb. 28, 2012: ISBN 978-1-4263-0984-7; $5.95), by award-wining author Jill Esbaum. The book looks at the life cycle of a cherry tree, the history behind the gift of the Japanese cherry trees to the nation’s capital and the association of the trees with spring.
This year’s five-week National Cherry Blossom Festival Centennial Celebration, from March 20 to April 27, will offer a tribute to the Festival’s rich history and will include world-class events:
- Opening Ceremony — Sunday, March 25
- Family Days — Saturday, March 24, and Sunday, March 25
- Blossom Kite Festival — Saturday, March 31
- Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival — Saturday, April 7
- National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade — Saturday, April 14
- Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival — Saturday, April 14
For more information on the National Cherry Blossom Festival, visit nationalcherryblossomfestival.org. National Geographic will host a ticketed museum exhibition, “Samurai: The Warrior Transformed,” from March 7 through Sept. 3, 2012. The exhibit will feature a gallery showcasing the photography of Eliza Scidmore, the first woman on the board of trustees at National Geographic, who played an integral role in bringing the cherry blossoms to Washington. In conjunction with this exhibit, National Geographic Live will screen three classics of Japanese cinema, all featuring the iconic Toshiro Mifune and presented in stunning 35mm, on March 3, 2012.
About the Author and Photographer of CHERRY BLOSSOMS: The Official Book of the National Cherry Blossom Festival
Ann McClellan has held executive positions at the Smithsonian Institution, World Wildlife Fund, American Lung Association, American Association of Museums and George Washington University Law School. She is a longtime Washington, D.C., resident and cherry blossom enthusiast.
Ron Blunt is a master photographer celebrating 25 years of award-winning architectural and landscape imagery. He has worked with such organizations as the Smithsonian, National Trust for Historic Preservation and George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.
National Cherry Blossom Festival