Allegheny students visit nation’s capital for blossom festival

Allegheny students traveled to the District of Columbia and were welcomed by warm weather and the aroma of hundreds of blooming cherry blossoms.

Spring in the district brings crowds of people who are eager to attend the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival Cherry Blossom Festival. Every year, more than 1.5 million visitors travel to the nation’s capital in order to see the more than 3,000 trees. Among these groups was Allegheny’s International Club as it spend the weekend of March 30, sightseeing in the city.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization. Its purpose is meant to promote the “beauty of nature and international friendship,” reads its website. This year, the annual festival began March 20, and will run until April 14. Because the exact time of the blooms is impossible to predict, the festival runs for about a month.

The trees’ peak bloom was predicted to occur on April 1, according to the National Cherry Blossom Festival website. Typically, the blossoms are best viewed four to seven days after peak bloom, according to the National Park Service.

Angeline Pho, ’22, wanted to go on the trip after seeing a post about it on MyAllegheny. Pho had only ever been to the district once before the 2019 trip, but this was the first time she was able to see the capital up close.

“It was just really nice because being in Meadville, I forgot that it was spring,” Pho said. “And when I got to (the district) and I saw all of the cherry blossoms, it really gave me a sense that spring was here.”

Once students arrived in the district, they were able to enjoy the city’s sights and explore its many museums, parks and other activities that were interwoven with the blossom festival like the Blossom Kite Festival.

Pho and her friends were able to visit the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the National Gallery of Art. She said her favorite was the National Gallery of Art because she enjoyed looking at sculptures.

Before the trip’s attendees returned to snowy Meadville, they were able to enjoy sunny, warm weather.

“My favorite part of the trip was walking around the Washington Monument with the sun out and the sky full of kites,” said Benjamin Ramsey, ’22. “This trip was the first time I had ever been to (the district) while the cherry trees were in bloom.”

On March 30, the National Mall was home to thousands of kites. Held on the grounds of the Washington Monument, the Blossom Kite Festival welcomes children and adults of all ages and skill levels to participate in the kite flying event.

“It was really cool,” Pho said. “There was so many kites … There was so many people. It was as if it was a place covered in people, and the sky was covered in kites at the same time.”

Pho said her experience in the city was worthwhile and served as a nice break from Meadville weather.

“My favorite part was just being able to walk around the city with my friends in the sunshine and be able to see different places in the city,” Pho said. “Also, the cherry blossoms.”