Three Fantastic Spring Festivals

Three Fantastic Spring Festivals

If you’d like to take a vacation this spring, it’s time to start planning. Not sure where you want to go? Why not get to know one of America’s unique cities by visiting it during a spring festival? In winter, we told you about three amazing festivals that celebrated ice, snow, and all things wintry. For spring, here are four festivals that celebrate the character of the cities they happen in. You could spend your vacation learning something special about Denver, New Orleans, or Washington, DC.

National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC, March 20-April 27, 2012

In 1912, Tokyo’s mayor, Yukio Ozaki, gave a gift of 3,000 cherry trees to Washington, DC, to symbolize the friendship between the two cities. The trees were planted to form a grove on the north bank of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park. Since that time, the US has given gifts of dogwood trees to Tokyo to express our country’s hopes for peace and friendship, and Tokyo has given 3,800 more cherry trees, which were added to the first grove. Every spring, all of the cherry trees bloom, filling the air with clouds of pink petals. People from all over the world come to admire the blossoms in April and May, when they’re at their most beautiful. If you come during the festival, you can also enjoy exhibits and events that honor Japanese culture and international friendship. There will be film screenings, art exhibits, kite flying, classes in traditional crafts, concerts, dancers, and more. This a family-friendly event, with some activities designed just for kids.

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, April 27-May 6, 2012

Jazz music was largely born in New Orleans, and the city has celebrated its rich music history with this festival every year since 1970. This year, hundreds of thousands of festival goers will enjoy jazz music, as well as the many kinds of music that feed and inform jazz, including zydeco, gospel, blues, funk, African, Latin, rock, R&B, Caribbean, and folk. Beyond the music, you can learn about the roots of Louisiana’s rich culture by visiting the Folklife Center, where local artisans, historians, and Native American elders demonstrate traditional crafts and performing arts. Of course there will also be plenty of mouth-watering festival food, all with a Cajun twist.

Cinco de Mayo in Denver, May 5-6, 2012

Cinco de Mayo comemorates the Mexican army’s victory over the French in Puebla, Mexico on May 5, 1862. This battle was the turning point that gave Mexico the momentum to drive foreign power out completely. Today, Cinco de Mayo is a festival of pride for Mexican Americans, other Latinos, and anyone interested in Latino culture. Denver, Colorado celebrates the holiday and honors its large Latino population with a parade and a festival in Civic Center Park. Enjoy live music, traditional dancers, and other performers, buy unique art and jewelry, and get free samples from local businesses—and don’t miss the fifth annual Green Chili Cookoff!