**FILE** The splendor of D.C.'s cherry blossoms (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** The splendor of D.C.'s cherry blossoms (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)

The National Cherry Blossom Festival has announced the launch of its new virtual experience, accessible from its website.

The website (nationalcherryblossomfestival.org) will showcase videos of performers originally scheduled to participate in the event, as well as activities, educational experiences and ways to take part in the festival while staying at a distance, officials said.

“This new online experience brings the festival to you and provides a way to enjoy springtime together, while being apart,” said Diana Mayhew, festival president. “The festival team is rooted in our commitment to honor our traditions. So, the nation’s greatest springtime celebration will continue but it will look different this year thanks to our team and our creative partners at VIVA Creative.”

Here is some of what the festival team is bringing to homes:

• Over the weekend, the festival released a video of the just-blossoming cherry trees with a tour of the Tidal Basin by a National Park Service park ranger. In the video, visitors travel around the Tidal Basin while hearing about the gift of the trees and the festival’s longstanding friendship with Japan over the life of the festival.

• The opening ceremony, originally scheduled for March 21, is co-presented annually with the Japan Foundation. Performers originally scheduled for at this year’s festival instead provided entrancing videos, capturing the best in Japanese culture through music and song, festival officials said.

• The Blossom Kids page teaches children how to create blossom-related memes, festival-type arts and crafts and much more.

• The festival’s online auction traditionally launched during the annual Pink Tie Party is up and running. All proceeds go toward supporting the festival and its mission and will run through April 12. The auction, which will feature local sports events, signed memorabilia, jewelry, health and well-being experiences, aims to support the local economy and bring benefits to D.C.’s communities.

• See the cherry trees without going to the Tidal Basin. The festival team partnered with the Trust for the National Mall and the National Park Service to provide #BlossomCam, which is live 24/7. While the blossoms may soon flutter away, the trees can still be seen in this panoramic vista as they provide a background to the Martin Luther King Jr. and Thomas Jefferson memorials.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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