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This past weekend was spring forward for time. This week as been spring open for cherry blossoms.

Thanks to warm and sunny weather, tree blossoms have been opening at a rapid clip, and that includes those on Arlington’s cherry blossom trees.

Blossom seekers can enjoy the bloom by visiting some of the local sites with cherry tree clusters, including:

  • Cherrydale Baptist Church (3910 Lorcom Lane)
  • Arlington National Cemetery (1 Memorial Ave)
  • Long Bridge Park in Crystal City (475 Long Bridge Drive)
  • Quincy Park in Virginia Square (1021 N. Quincy Street)
  • Welburn Square in Ballston (901 N. Taylor Street)

Arlington has a few events and activities planned coinciding with blossom season, including a pop-up market with local vendors at Metropolitan Park in Pentagon City and live music at the Crystal City Water Park.

The more famous Tidal Basin cherry blossoms in D.C., meanwhile, have reached the final stage before peak bloom. The National Park Service made the announcement this morning.

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After a relatively mild winter, cherry blossoms are expected to hit peak bloom in mid-to-late March.

Today the National Park Service predicted 70% of the blossoms along the Tidal Basin will reach their peak between March 23-26, about the same time as last year.

This year’s peak is a few days earlier than historical averages — and getting harder to predict given warmer winters and big temperature changes, the Washington Post reports.

For now, the blossoms are in their budding stage, leaving bloom seekers a few weeks to plan for excursions and events.

For those seeking to avoid the D.C. crowds, there are a number of blossom options here in Arlington.

One notable destination is Arlington National Cemetery, which has cherry trees in a handful of locations on its 624-acre property. Locals can also find clusters of cherry trees at Welburn Square in Ballston, Quincy Park in Virginia Square, Long Bridge Park in Crystal City, in parts of the aptly named Cherrydale, and elsewhere.

As for events, the National Landing Business Improvement District is hosting “Pink in the Park,” a three-weekend series of cherry blossom events featuring live entertainment, food and activities.

The series kicks off Saturday, March 23 with the “Art of Pink,” a pop-up market showcasing local artists and small businesses. It will be held from 1-5 p.m. at Metropolitan Park (1330 S. Fair Street), the public park next to Amazon’s second headquarters.

Next up is a kid-friendly event, “Pink in the Pool,” on April 6 at the Long Bridge Park Aquatics Center (333 Long Bridge Drive). From 9 a.m. to noon, attendees can enjoy free access to the pool and free snacks, and participate in an origami class, tea tasting and a story time.

The series will finish off with “Pink Beats” on April 16 at the Crystal City Water Park (1601 Crystal Drive), where guests can listen to live music from local acts and sample food from the park’s dozen vendors from 4-9 p.m.

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Today may be rainy, but in general the weather is getting warmer, the cherry blossoms are in peak bloom, and it’s a great time to get out of the house.

But where to go to take in the cherry blossoms and enjoy a nice night out? There’s a strong case this year for staying right here in Arlington.

Specifically: National Landing.

Not only does National Landing have its own cherry trees that are in bloom, but in case you haven’t been paying attention to all of the changes, there is also a ton to do there.

So we decided to partner with the National Landing BID to get some cool prizes from local businesses for one lucky ARLnow reader.

The grand prize haul includes all of the following:

While you’re contemplating what food to get, shows to see, etc. with $500 in local gift cards, you can also mark your calendar for Pink in the Park, the new music-centric event hosted by Orlando Jones. It’s happening from 3-7 p.m. on Saturday, April 1 at Long Bridge Park.

Free tickets to this official National Cherry Blossom Festival Event, presented by Amazon, are available for free online.

In the meantime, use the form below to enter for a chance to win the Big Night Out prize package. Good luck!

If you’re not seeing the form above, use this link.

The drawing will take place on Friday, March 31 and the prize will be available for pickup at Pink in the Park on Saturday, April 1.

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Rain drops on a cherry blossom in Freedom Park in Rosslyn (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

You won’t have to go across the Potomac to enjoy cherry blossom festivities this year.

The National Landing BID is hosting Pink in the Park, a celebration of the region’s cherry blossoms sans D.C. tourist crowds.

Pink in the Park is scheduled for Saturday, April 1, from 3-7 p.m. The festival will be held outside the Long Bridge Aquatics and Fitness Center, at 333 Long Bridge Drive.

Current predictions say the Pink in the Park festival might miss peak bloom by about a week, thanks to warmer temperatures this winter.

The event will be emceed by comedian and American Gods actor Orlando Jones, with rock band Black Alley headlining. Black Alley is scheduled to take the stage at 5:45 p.m.

Other scheduled performers include DJ Chan DonCrush Funk BrassUmami HouseReesa Renee, and Footwerk. The National Landing BID website said the event will feature several food trucks as well as beer and wine vendors, including food trucks from Health Pub, Kona Ice, Pho Wheels, Peruvian Brothers, and The Grease Wagon.

Beauty Champagne and Sugar Boutique, Crystal City Wine Shop, DC Brau, District Fray, Drunkfruit and Lost Boy Cider are listed as beer and wine partners.

Pets are allowed at the event but must be leashed at all time, and it’s not recommended for pets that are sensitive to loud music and crowds.

The event will also have “Instagrammable moments,” “immersive art installations” and giveaways, organizers say. It will be preceded by Pink in the Pool, a family-friendly event from 9 a.m.-noon in the Long Bridge Aquatics Center.

Tickets to the event, of which Amazon is the marquee sponsor, are free and available online.

Pink in the Park graphic (via National Landing BID)
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Enchanted Rhapsody is set for Saturday, April 9 in Crystal City (image via screenshot/National Landing BID)

A string quartet will play pop music in Crystal City this weekend as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

The event, dubbed Enchanted Rhapsody is taking place at the intersection of 6th Street S. and S. Ball Street on Saturday from 4-7:30 p.m. It will feature food, drink and the musical stylings of the Edgewood String Quartet, which will perform classical renderings of Taylor Swift and Queen songs.

The string foursome is known for its covers of pop songs or, as the press release puts it, “think Bridgerton-style classical covers IRL.”

“An evening of Taylor Swift versus Queen songs performed by the Edgewood String Quartet will welcome the bliss of springtime and the beauty of the cherry blossoms,” an event announcement said.

There will be drink and food specials from local Arlington businesses RĀKO, Crystal City Wine Shop, and Bun’d Up. A Captain Cookie and Milkman food truck will also be there. The D.C.-based sweets shop is opening up a Courthouse location later this spring.

This is the neighborhood’s first official Cherry Blossom Festival event, according to the announcement. The event is being co-hosted by the National Landing Business Improvement District and tickets are free, though registration is being requested.

While many of this season’s cherry blossoms met a gusty end last week, the National Cherry Blossom Festival continues until April 17. In Arlington, there are still petal porches to see and bike rides to take to catch what remains of this year’s blossoms.

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Last year’s Blossom Kite Festival at Virginia Highlands Park (photo courtesy of Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation)

(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) Locals can go fly a kite this weekend at Virginia Highlands Park in the Pentagon City area, for the Blossom Kite Festival.

Held in conjunction with the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the kite festival is one of a dozen taking place at D.C.-area parks this coming Saturday, March 26.

The event will feature live entertainment, food trucks, origami, art projects, and, of course, kites. It will take place on the diamond fields at the corner of S. Joyce Street and 15th Street S. from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

This is the Pentagon City park’s second year holding the festival. Upwards of 750 people are expected to attend, organizers tell ARLnow, with the first hundred attendees receiving a kite kit.

“It’s been such a difficult couple of years. This is the first big event Arlington Parks and Recreation has been able to hold outside in a long time,” says Laura Barragan, special events manager at the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation. ” Our community has been so resilient and resourceful during the pandemic. We should celebrate ourselves and our community. The Blossom Kite Festival is a way we can bring the magic of the Cherry Blossom Festival to Arlington.”

Live entertainment will include a flamenco artist, rock and roll cover band, kid-friendly street performers, and gypsy-rock group the 19th Street Band. There will also be local food trucks like the Big Cheese, BBQ At Its Best, El Encanto Latino and Kona Ice.

Attendees additionally have an opportunity to learn about Japanese culture, including demonstrations on making origami cherry trees and how to play the wooden ball skill game kendama.

Dogs are welcome and the festival is rain or shine, though in case of severe weather it will be rescheduled for Sunday. The event is being sponsored by Amazon, according to the website.

The event will be taking place after peak bloom has been reached at the Tidal Basin.

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Blossoms are beginning to bloom in Arlington and the temperature is expected to climb above 60 this afternoon. Sounds like a good time for a bike ride.

Luckily, local bike boosters have made some handy maps for seeing the blossoms on two wheels.

The cherry blossom bike maps from BikeArlington are aimed at helping residents catch full bloom without leaving the county and fighting crowds across the Potomac.

BikeArlington, the county-sponsored bike education program, has released long and short bike routes to assist cyclists in finding blossoms across the county.

Cherry blossom season is one of the most-anticipated times of the year in the D.C. area with the delicate, pink flowers attracting locals and tourists alike. Peak bloom is expected to happen between March 23 and 25 this year, according to the National Park Service, though this weekend’s cold and (likely) snowy weather could change that.

BikeArlington’s long bike route covers a 17 mile loop estimated to take under two hours and hits seven locations. Those stops include checking out trees at the Shirlington Branch Library, Ballston’s Welburn Square, Quincy Park in Virginia Square, and Cherrydale.

“Bike along the streets between Route 29, N. Quincy St, and I-66,” reads the map. “There’s a reason this neighborhood is named Cherrydale!”

Screenshot of BikeArlington’s long cherry blossom bike map

The short route covers 2.5 miles and is estimated to take under 20 minutes, without stopping. It takes riders through Arlington National Cemetery, Gravelly Point, and to the Navy-Merchant Marine Memorial.

“Stop and sit at benches that overlook the cherry blossom trees on the other side of the river,” the map reads.

While the Tidal Basin blossoms in D.C. are the “official” trees that were gifted by the Japanese government, there are plenty of blooms to behold in Arlington. At Arlington National Cemetery, there are more than 400 cherry trees. Just last year, dozens of new cherry blossom trees were planted in National Landing.

A number of cherry blossom-related events will be happening over the next month in Arlington, including a kite festival at Virginia Highlands Park, a petal porch parade, and public art installations.

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Morning Notes

Aerial view of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor at left, the Crystal City-Pentagon City corridor at right, and the Four Mile Run Valley at bottom (staff photo)

Man Tased After Columbia Pike Assault — “The suspect was inside of a business, acting disorderly and aggressive towards other patrons, when he allegedly approached the victim and struck him in the face. The victim sustained minor injuries and did not require medical treatment. Responding officers located the suspect, who continued to act disorderly and resisted arrest. A brief struggle ensued, during which the officer deployed a TASER, and the suspect was subsequently taken into custody without further incident.” [ACPD]

D.C. Also Has Camp Registration Drama — “Hey… it looks like DC is having similar problems with @VermontSystems as @ArlingtonVA had last week.” [Twitter]

Library Reads on the Ukraine Conflict — “Ukraine and Russia are top of the headlines around the world. Dig deeper into the two countries and their history in these books.” [Twitter, Arlington Public Schools]

Marymount Going Mask Optional — “On Monday, Marymount University announced to students, faculty and staff that the institution’s indoor mask requirement will no longer be in effect starting this Tuesday, March 1. This decision is based upon low COVID-19 metrics in Arlington County.” [Press Release]

On to States for W-L Boys Hoops — “The host South Lakes Seahawks played a part in the Generals’ failed attempt, winning that Feb. 25 boys 6D North Region tournament boys high-school basketball title contest, 56-47… Next for Washington-Liberty is the Virginia High School League’s Class 6 state tournament, with a first-round quarterfinal game against the undefeated Hayfield Hawks on March 4 or 5.” [Sun Gazette]

Beyer Wants to Nix Stadium Tax Break — “A Virginia congressman wants to sack a financial incentive package aimed at luring the Washington Commanders’ new stadium to the Commonwealth. U.S. Representative Don Beyer, a Democrat who represents Virginia’s 8th Congressional District in the heart of Northern Virginia, said stadium bond packages like the one working its way through the Virginia state legislature takes needed tax revenue out of the pockets of taxpayers all to benefit people who have more than enough money to build new stadiums on their own.” [WUSA 9]

Cherry Blossom Bloom Prediction — From the National Park Service: “We’re projecting cherry blossom peak bloom to fall between March 22 – 25 this year!” [Twitter]

It’s Wednesday — Sunny skies in the morning become partly cloudy. High of 60 and low of 40. Sunrise at 6:40 am and sunset at 6:03 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Cherry Trees Planted in Pentagon City — “We are so excited to be celebrating with @CherryBlossFest and @amazon the planting of 12 Japanese Cherry Trees in #NationalLanding! Thank you for these beautiful new additions to the area!” [Twitter]

Renderings of Possible DCA Bridge — “JBG Smith Properties isn’t waiting to envision the future. In a video released to investors this month, the company showed off some 3D renderings of what a pedestrian bridge could look like, complete with some features that have not yet been showcased publicly for the project. There’s a small set of amphitheater-like steps for lounging on the bridge, for instance, plus some futuristic-looking coverings for people walking along the structure. There even appear to be bike lanes and greenery pictured at points along the bridge.” [Washington Business Journal, Vimeo]

Arrests in Malicious Wounding Case — “Officers located the vehicle the suspects were traveling in and conducted a traffic stop at the intersection of eastbound Route 50 and N. Courthouse Road… Inside the vehicle, officers recovered three loaded firearms including a black handgun with extended magazine, AR-15 style rifle and a shotgun.” [ACPD]

County 911 Center Administrator Honored — “The Virginia Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (VA APCO) has honored Arlington’s Emergency Communications Center (ECC) Deputy Administrator Jeffrey Horwitz with its Public-Safety Communications Information Technologist of the Year award.” [Arlington County]

Feds May Permanently Expand Telework — “As the Biden administration contemplates how to return the massive federal workforce to the office, government officials are moving to make a pandemic experiment permanent by allowing more employees than ever to work from home — a sweeping cultural change that would have been unthinkable a year ago.” [Washington Post, Washingtonian]

Virtual Chamber Ensemble Performance — “The National Chamber Ensemble will present a virtual performance of Vivaldi’s masterpiece The Four Seasons on May 29, 2021. The 2020-21 NCE season has been keeping the audience and artists safe as well as connected. Each concert is paired with a live virtual event/conversation with the artists. Taped May 22, the concert links will go out on May 29.” [Event Calendar]

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(Updated at 10:55 a.m.) After a pandemic winter, the region’s annual rite of spring is finally here: The cherry blossoms have bloomed.

A string of warm weather days got the famed Tidal Basin cherry blossoms to hit peak bloom a few days earlier than initially predicted. While there were fears that peak bloom would result in crowded conditions that would prompt the National Park Service to shut down access, that has yet to materialize.

As of now, the Tidal Basin remains open with peak bloom expected to last about a week.

If blossom peeping is what you’re after, then Arlington National Cemetery is another possible destination, with numerous cherry blossom trees. However, it’s currently only open to the public on a limited basis.

Here in Arlington, our cherry blossoms aren’t as famous as those across the river, but there are still plenty to see elsewhere around the county. Clusters of cherry trees and blossoms can be seen in various Arlington neighborhoods, heralding the arrival of spring without the fanfare of their Tidal Basin brethren.

ARLnow staff photographer Jay Westcott traveled around Arlington over the past week to capture some of the blooms, as seen in the gallery above.

There are other ways to participate in the cherry blossom festivities that don’t require venturing across the Potomac.

In National Landing, where dozens of cherry trees are being planted, two “Art in Bloom” sculptures are now on display. Relatedly, Amazon is now a top-level sponsor of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Arlington restaurants are included in the annual “Cherry Picks” program, which highlights cherry blossom-inspired dishes.

A new addition to the festival is the “Porch Parade and Pedal Procession,” in which area residents and businesses decorate their porches, yards, and windows with a cherry blossom theme. Arlington is home to numerous such displays, according to a map.

Some Arlington neighborhoods, including the Aurora Highlands community near National Landing, are even organizing their own cherry blossom activities this year.

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Morning Notes

Tornado Drill Today — “Virginia’s annual Statewide Tornado Drill will occur on Tues., March 16 at 9:45 a.m. If widespread severe weather threatens the Commonwealth on that date, the drill will be rescheduled for Wed., March 17, at 9:45 a.m. The Statewide Tornado Drill is an opportunity to prepare Virginians for tornado threats and to test public warning systems.” [Va. Dept. of Emergency Management]

Pentagon Row Harris Teeter’s Future in Flux — “Despite concerns from nearby residents, Arlington County Board members on March 20 could give the owner of Pentagon Row the ability to, potentially, significantly downsize grocery-store operations… Located on a 15-acre parcel in Pentagon City, the site has long included a Harris-Teeter supermarket. But that initial lease term is expiring, and there is no guarantee the supermarket chain will want to stay in the existing space.” [Sun Gazette]

Coronavirus Tests Available at DCA — “Coronavirus testing launched Monday at Reagan National and Washington Dulles International airports, which became the latest airports across the country to offer the tests. The centers are outside the security checkpoints at both airports and are operated by XpresCheck, which runs centers at a number of U.S. airports.” [Washington Post]

New Building to Have Temporary Hotel Rooms — “Arlington County Board members next month are expected to allow another developer to temporarily convert apartment space to hotel use. The developer of the 809-unit property at 1555 Wilson Blvd. is asking permission to use 100 of the residential units as hotel space starting in late summer. Eventually, the units would revert to their originally intended purpose.” [Sun Gazette]

Cherry Blossom Sculptures Arrive in Arlington — From the National Landing BID: “Two official @CherryBlossFest sculptures have landed! One at the Esplanade at Long Bridge Park and one at the Crystal City Water Park. They will be up through May 31.” [Twitter]

Bill Would Allow 15 MPH Speed Limits in Va. — “Currently, any city or county looking to slow traffic in a busy shopping district or on a quiet residential street can go no lower than 25 mph. A bill passed during this year’s General Assembly session, however, would change that, permitting posted speed limits to drop as low as 15 mph. A ten miles per hour difference may not seem huge, but for pedestrian safety advocates and the families of victims of traffic collisions, the change could mean the difference between life and death.” [Greater Greater Washington]

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