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The GW Hatchet

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National Cherry Blossom Festival cancels, postpones events amid COVID-19 pandemic

File Photo Donna Armstrong | Senior Staff Photographer
Less than a mile from the National Mall, the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s Opening Ceremony will include music, dance and art performances by Japanese artists at the Warner Theater.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival will cancel and postpone some of its events until the end of March in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release Wednesday.

Festival organizers held and cut three events, and two activities may take place on a live stream or online.  The festival, originally set from March 20 to April 12, will determine changes made to its schedule in April, according to the release.

“It is a difficult decision and one that we do not take lightly,” Diana Mayhew, the president and CEO of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, said in the release. “The health and safety of the performers, guests, volunteers and festival staff is our priority.”

The “Pink Tie Party,” scheduled for March 20, has been postponed, but the silent auction will still take place online, according to the release.

The opening ceremony on March 21 will not be held in the Warner Theatre, but festival organizers said they are considering live streaming the event.

The “Blossom Kite Festival,” slated for March 28, is canceled. The Tidal Basin Welcome Area and ANA Stage are also canceled, the release states.

Events scheduled for April that have not yet been affected include the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade on April 4 and the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and 5K Run-Walk on April 5.

The move comes after Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency in the District Wednesday. Mayhew said event organizers have worked with D.C. government, World Health Association and Center for Disease Control and Prevention officials to “determine the best course of action” with planning moving forward.

“The team is continually assessing the situation and looking at ways to reimagine certain events,” the release states.

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