An early bloom is predicted for Washington, D.C.'s cherry blossoms, with warm temperatures already speeding the buds toward full bloom in late March.
Chief horticulturist Rob DeFeo believes the pink and white flowers will be at their best from March 29 to April 3. The full bloom is predicted to fall in the middle of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs March 26 to April 10 and draws about 1 million visitors each spring.
About 3,000 Yoshino cherry trees bloom in the nation's capital -- only 100 remain that were part of Japan's original gift to the country 99 years ago. While most events over the two-week span are free, visitors to the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival will be charged $5 entry (ages 13 and older) for the first time this year. With 150,000 in attendance last year, the event is the largest Japanese festival in the United States. Organizers say the admission fee is meant to reduce the crowd size and expand the festival.
Details at nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.