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Though you may normally prefer your events shrouded in darkness and glazed in booze, it would be remiss to ignore the beginning of America's biggest celebration ever of a Japanese tree flower. We'vealready mentioned the Kite Festival and Japanime Marathon; here are some more ways you can enjoy the Cherry Blossom Festival this weekend.


  • Now through April 12: Paddle boating seems to be a popular way to see the pretty flowers -- so popular that you must actually make reservations to propel a floating hamster wheel around the Tidal Basin. Many dates are already sold out, so if this is your thing, reserve your spot now! $8 - $16 per hour. [Tidal Basin Paddle Boats]
  • March 28 through April 12: Contrary to tourists' beliefs, Segways are not the only alternative to walking. One may bike around the Tidal Basin to enjoy the cherry trees while at the same time breezing past said waddling tourists. If you don't own a bicycle, you can rent one from this nice little company starting this Saturday. You never forget how, etc. $32 for a two-hour tour. [Blossoms by Bike]
  • Sunday, March 29: So much exercise, so much daylight, in this list! Here's a little more: the Lantern Lighting Ceremony, as you might imagine, involves setting fire to a really old lantern, for friendship. The ceremony is accompanied by traditional Japanese Dancers and the state society-appointed "Cherry Blossom Princesses." [Lantern Lighting Ceremony]
  • Anytime: On second thought, avoid the tourists all together by going nowhere near the Mall, from now through, hmm, September. But if you still want to see the payoff to a hundred-year-old diplomatic gesture, the Washingtonian has compiled a handy list of less obvious places to see the trees. For example, Anacostia's on the river too, elitists! [Washingtonian]
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