The 2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival will be held March 20 through April 15. The Cherry Blossom Parade is scheduled for Saturday, April 14, 2018.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is typically scheduled around the average peak bloom date. The hope is that the blossoms will come out at some point during the festival, but there’s no guarantee of that and it’s unlikely they’ll be out for the duration. In 2014 and 2015 the peak bloom fell right at the end of the festival. In 2016 and 2017, with the early bloom, it fell right at the beginning of the festival–they even moved the opening of the 2017 festival at the last minute to accommodate and expected early bloom.
In recent years the festival has been extended to run across several weeks, which increases the chances that the peak bloom will fall within the festival dates.
If you’re planning to visit for the festival, I’d recommend make hotel reservations sooner rather than later–it can get busy and hotels can fill up. I’ve put together some recommendations on where to stay in DC with an eye specifically on visiting the cherry blossoms.
The Festival is run by the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and features a number of events, exhibits, and performances related to the cherry blossoms and U.S.-Japanese relations. Among the events and activities are a parade, fireworks, concerts, and special exhibits that take their theme from the cherry blossoms. You can find more information at the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s official website.