The spectacle of cherry blossoms breaking into bloom is one of the loveliest springtime sights. Cotton candy blossoms fill the trees, and bloom watchers flock beneath the branches to take in the splendor. There are several Southern destinations where you can see the pink-and-white blossoms, and these spots also put on festivals to commemorate the natural beauty of the trees as well as the history and cultural heritage the trees represent. Read on to learn about some of the South's best cherry-blossoming locations, then join in the festivities to celebrate these beautiful, brief blossoms when they show themselves in springtime.
The annual Cherry Blossom Festival is held at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens during the month of March. In addition to the trees, visitors can enjoy performances, food, and Japanese cultural activities hosted by the Japan America Society of Alabama. Throughout the gardens—and sprinkled throughout the rest of the city—are blooming cherry trees that visitors can glimpse when they burst into blossom in early spring.
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To see the branches in flower, set your sights on Dallas, where the springtime Dallas Blooms event at the Dallas Arboretum runs from February to April. There are 150 cherry trees on the grounds, and their peak bloom period typically falls in mid-March, but depending on when you visit, there's even more to see. The event is a celebration of spring, and it also marks the blooming of daffodils, irises, and tulips (over 500,000 on display!).
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The International Cherry Blossom Festival, one of the biggest in the country, takes place in Macon during March and April. It has a big calendar of events, including concerts and exhibits celebrating the cotton-candy blossoms. The city is teeming with trees; there are more than 350,000 Yoshino cherry trees in Macon, many of which can be found in and around Carolyn Crayton Park along the Ocmulgee River. You can find a map of the city's Cherry Blossom Trail online to help you located the trees.
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The Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival is a vibrant celebration of springtime and Japanese culture that's held downtown at Public Square Park along the Cumberland River. Music, dance, art exhibitions, food—there's so much to enjoy during the festival when the trees begin to flower. There are cherry blossoms blooming in parks and neighborhoods around the city in spring, and visitors can join the 2.5-mile Cherry Blossom Walk along the Public Square and Cumberland River Greenway to see them up close.
One of the best-known festivals celebrating the blooms is the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. The trees surround national monuments in D.C.'s Tidal Basin, creating tunnels of pink and white blooms and vignettes of flowering branches framing the water and memorials in the area. The annual festival includes performances, street festivals, and parades. The trees planted there are of both the Yoshino and later-blooming Kwanzan varieties, the first specimens of which were planted in 1912.
What's your favorite destination for seeing cherry blossoms in springtime? Do you have any ornamental trees planted in your yard?