National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade

Cherry Blossom Parade - Washington DC


The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade is one of the centerpiece events of the two-week National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. The parade is a celebration of spring that draws an estimated 300,000 people to view the lineup of helium balloons, floats, dancers, singers, marching bands and more.

The annual springtime festival commemorates the 1912 gift of Japanese cherry trees from Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki, who gave the trees to Washington in an effort to enhance the growing friendship between the United States and Japan. The first Cherry Blossom Festival was held in 1935 and since that time the festival has grown into a major celebration with countless events, culminating with the parade and street festival.

A trip to Washington, D.C. provides great educational opportunities for marching band students. The 1-mile parade route travels along historic Constitution Avenue, beginning at 7th Street and ending at 17th Street. Along the way it passes the National Archives, the Department of Justice, Smithsonian Museums, the Washington Monument and the White House. 

The parade accepts marching bands consisting of 90 members or more. Bands are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year with an ultimate deadline of September 15 in the year prior to the parade.