D.C.

Cherry Blossom Festival 2013: Peak bloom to be March 26-30

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WASHINGTON (AP/ABC7) - The National Park Service on Monday said that peak bloom for the cherry blossoms will be March 26 to the 30.

This year's National Cherry Blossom Festival is planned for March 20 through April 14. The average peak bloom date is April 4, but last year's peak bloom date was March 20.

It's excellent news for the planners of the annual festival, as the peak bloom is estimated to come right in the middle of the three-week event.

The 2012 peak bloom actually shifted midway through the early spring months. The original bloom estimate in 2012 was between March 24 and 31.

The cherry blossoms draw about 1 million visitors each spring. This year marks the 101st anniversary of the gift of trees from Japan.

National Park Service officials say the cherry blossom buds aren't seeing any development quite yet, which is a good thing. That's because a blast of cold air and snow is expected later this week, which would stunt development of already-blooming flowers.

"At the stage we are in right now with the cherry trees, it will not have a negative effect on the blossoms or the blooming period," National Park Service official James Perry said.

Even if the blossoms come early again this year, as they did a year ago, event organizers say they're ready for anytime the flowers begin to pop.

Officials also say that potential furloughs and budget cuts due to sequestration will not have an effect on the Cherry Blossom Festival.

"Whether they're hear for two days or two weeks, we have events and activities throughout the city and beyond the Tidal Basin," Diana Mayhew, the president of the festival, said.

Regardless of budget cuts or anything else that stands in the way, not much can stand in the way of the beauty of the blossoms and the joy it brings to residents and visitors alike.

"I think they are beautiful," Washington resident Sherry Jones-Kliner said. "I work down here, so it's a nice, beautiful walk."

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