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

The National Cherry Blossom Festival announced Wednesday that based on the District of Columbia’s Department of Health recommendations released earlier, it will postpone or cancel some events occurring through March 31 and are determining what changes will be made to events that are scheduled into April.

“It is a difficult decision and one that we do not take lightly, said Diana Mayhew, president and CEO of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. “The health and safety of the performers, guests, volunteers and festival staff is our priority. We have been working closely with the city government, WHO and CDC as well as our partners to determine the best course of action. As such, the team is continually assessing the situation and looking at ways to reimagine certain events, such as the Opening Ceremony.”

Events affected by today’s Department of Health recommendation include the festival’s Pink Tie Party, Opening Ceremony at the Warner Theatre, Blossom Kite Festival and Tidal Basin Welcome Area.

The Pink Tie Party presented by ANA and hosted by TCMA (a Drew company) on March 20, is postponed. The Festival is looking at future dates to reschedule. However, the silent auction fundraiser will still take place online.

The Opening Ceremony co-presented by the Japan Foundation on March 21, will not take place as planned at the Warner Theatre. The Festival is looking at options including live streaming the event.

The Blossom Kite Festival on March 28, presented by Otsuka American Pharmaceutical, Inc. is canceled.

The Tidal Basin Welcome Area presented with the National Park Service and ANA Stage is canceled.

Mayhew went on to say, ““The Festival remains committed to embracing springtime in the nation’s capital. While our signature events will certainly be impacted, there are a number of events, exhibitions and performances that will still occur.”

For a full schedule of events visit the Festival website.

People can still purchase official merchandise at the Union Station kiosk in the Main Hall or online ncbfstore.org.

To ensure access to the latest information and guidance, the city has set up a website with the latest COVID-19 information and preventative recommendations. We encourage everyone to keep informed and act accordingly as new information is released. For additional information on the coronavirus and best prevention practices, please visit the following websites from national health experts: World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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