Southwest Waterfront Festival anticipates crowds
April 5, 2013
WASHINGTON - All the elements and intangibles have been aligned for massive weekend crowds to walk southwest District of Columbia sidewalks and tidal basin paths to visually consume the annual explosion of the blossoms.
A backlog of cooler-than-normal temperatures has shifted the cherry blossom window to the weekend of April 6, just in time for hundreds of thousands of area residents and Military District of Washington visitors to converge for a Saturday and Sunday filled with arbor fireworks, along with a festival which will be highlighted by an 8:30 p.m. aerial firework display April 6.
Prior to the April 6 fireworks, a solid lineup of entertainment for all ages is slated for multiple venues around the southwest quadrant. The military will be represented at the Kastles' Stadium at the Wharf cherry blossom stage. At 1 p.m., The U.S. Navy Band is scheduled to perform, and primetime slots are reserved for two Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall-based musical groups.
The U.S. Army Band's "Pershing's Own" Downrange will play at 6 p.m., and The U.S. Army Blues takes to the stage at 7:30 p.m.
"There will be a full day of entertainment before the fireworks are set off. With the window [of blossoming] moved back, that could be a great thing for the festival," said blossom fest communication director Danielle Piacente. "Last year we had over 30,000 people, and with the blossoms blooming, we could have several hundred thousand people down there."
Other top destinations will be the food truck rally and Japanese Koinobori making and origami crafting at the 7th Street Landing.
If heading to Fort Lesley J. McNair to view the fireworks or take in the blossoms, JBM-HH law enforcement officials note that normal post parking regulations will be in effect at the D.C. base, but visitors may want to arrive early due to a number of McNair receptions which will be taking place during the weekend.
"I'm calculating between 300-350 guests will be parking on the installation for these events prior to the Cherry Blossom Festival fireworks," said Directorate of Emergency Services Operations Sgt. Michael Curtis. "This means that pretty much all of the parking in the close proximity to the watching site may be taken."