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Then and now: Washington's cherry blossoms

The fashions may have changed, but the cherry blossoms never waiver in their stunning glory.
By Will Creighton   |   March 25, 2016 at 3:26 PM

A gift from Japan in 1912, Washington's cherry trees are the main attraction as they reach "peak bloom" this week, bathing the Tidal Basin in shades of white and pale pink.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs from March 20 to April 17, celebrates the close ties between the United States and Japan with parades and musical performances. The first official festival was held in 1935.

Sharing with the next generation
A young boy climbs on a cherry tree during the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., on April 3, 2011. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
A young girl sits smiling in a cherry tree, filled with cherry blossoms, along the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., ca. 1939. Photo by Harris & Ewing/Library of Congress
Cherry blossoms backdrop
A mother and her daughter, dressed in traditional Japanese kimonos, stand among cherry trees at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., on April 13, 2014. Photo by Molly Riley/UPI
Two young Japanese women are pictured wearing kimonos under the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., in March 1925. Photo by Harris & Ewing/Library of Congress
Shutterbugs in blooms
A visitor photographs the cherry blossoms with her mobile phone during peak bloom of the Yoshino cherry trees in Washington, D.C., on April 11, 2015. Photo by Molly Riley/UPI
A group of photographers ready their cameras as they photograph a local artist painting a picture of the cherry blossoms lining the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., on April 7, 1922. Photo by Harris & Ewing/Library of Congress
Blossoms for dignitaries
Prince Takamatsu (in striped tie) and his wife, Princess Kikuko Takamatsu (in white hat), visit the cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., on April 16, 1931. Photo by Harris & Ewing/Library of Congress
Whether running or dancing
Visitors walk and jog among the cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., on March 31, 2009. Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI
Three female dancers flitter among the cherry blossoms lining the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., ca. 1923. Photo by Harris & Ewing/Library of Congress
Flowering costumes
A dancer performs a traditional Indonesian dance at the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., on April 4, 2010. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Three young girls dressed as saints during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., ca. 1937. Photo by Harris & Ewing/Library of Congress
There once was a Queen
Senate Majority Leader Alben W. Barkley places the crown on the head of Ms. Peggy Townsend, 1939's Cherry Blossom Queen, upon closing the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., on March 31. Photo by Harris & Ewing/Library of Congress
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