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Near-record-early peak bloom for cherry blossoms in Washington, DC, National Park Service declares

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Near-record-early peak bloom for cherry blossoms in Washington, DC, National Park Service declares


WASHINGTON – “Considerably earlier” than the average peak date, the cherry blossoms in the nation’s capital are in peak bloom. The National Park Service declared peak bloom on March 17.

Historically, the flowers tend to reach peak bloom between the last week of March and the first week of April, with an average date of April 3, according to the National Park Service. So, this is more than two weeks ahead of schedule. St. Patrick’s Day was also a week ahead of the National Park Service’s March 6 forecast of March 23-26.

BLOOMS OR BUST: HOW WEATHER CAN AFFECT DC’S CHERRY BLOSSOMS

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This date is just days behind the record-earliest peak bloom, which was March 15, 1990. And if you are wondering, the latest peak was April 18, 1958, according to the National Park Service.

Why did flowers bloom so early

And that date depends on the weather.

“We’re coming off what has been the warmest January on record in Washington,” National Mall spokesperson Mike Litterst told FOX Weather in early March, adding that February was one of the top-10-warmest Februarys on record. “So, a much warmer than average winter so far.”

US JUST HAD ITS WARMEST WINTER IN HISTORY THANKS TO EL NINO

He said that the speedy blooms went from the first day of the bloom cycle, called green bud, to a visible floret in just three days. That is the fastest the buds grew from stage one to two in the last 20 years. 

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How long the blooms stick around depends on the weather too.

“Ideally, once we get to peak bloom, we want the temperatures to cool off. Because while we’re all excited about the flowers, the trees have one more stage to go. They have to go from flowers to leaves,” Litterst said. “Warmer temperatures will accelerate that process. Cooler temperatures will keep the flowers on the trees a little longer.”

And keep severe weather away at all costs, he continued. High winds and heavy rain will tear petals from the flowers.

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WHY DC HAS JAPANESE CHERRY BLOSSOMS

How long do visitors have to see the peak bloom?

“Under the best of conditions, we can get maybe as much as two weeks out of the blossoms,” Litterst said. “Rule of thumb, 7 to 10 days, usually.” 

Unfortunately, the blossoms wait for no one. The National Cherry Blossom Festival doesn’t kick off until March 20 and runs through April 14. 

HOW TO WATCH FOX WEATHER

Don’t fret, though. The National Park Service defines “peak bloom” as the day that 70% of the Yoshino cherry blossoms are open. The Kwanzan cherry trees bloom about two weeks later than the Yoshino. The Yoshino create single white blossoms, which create the effect of white clouds around the Tidal Basin, according to the National Park Service. 

The Kwanzan trees produce heavy clusters of double pink blossoms. They are primarily in East Potomac Park.

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There are about 3,800 cherry trees of a dozen different species within the National Mall, Memorial Parks and West Potomac Park.

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Theatre News: Theatre Washington To Host 2024 Helen Hayes Awards, Recognize Contributions of DC Theatre Industry

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Theatre News: Theatre Washington To Host 2024 Helen Hayes Awards, Recognize Contributions of DC Theatre Industry


WASHINGTON, DC – April 22 – The 40th Helen Hayes Awards will take place on Monday, May 20, 2024 at The Anthem, on the District Wharf, with a celebratory party to follow. Esteemed Washington theatre artists Felicia CurryRayanne GonzalesMaria Rizzo, and Tom Story will host an evening showcasing the vibrant and diverse community of professional theatre artists in the Washington region. They will be joined by an ensemble of DC-based performers, including Quadry BrownCarolyn BurkeVictoria GomezSarah Anne Sillers, and Wood Van Meter. Tickets for the event are $75 (+$10 venue fee and Ticketmaster fees) for general admission seats and $350 (+$10 venue fee and Ticketmaster fees) for a seated dinner. Information on all tickets and sponsorships is available on the Theatre Washington website.

“The contributions of DC-area theatre makers extend far beyond the stage. The Helen Hayes Awards recognize the impact theatre has on our region, country, and globe. Shared experience, understanding, empathy, and insight are some of the ways that theatre changes us and makes us better citizens,” said Amy Austin, Theatre Washington President and CEO. “This is a night to celebrate the expansive creative local industry professionals who create and produce plays and musicals on stages seven days a week, 365 days a year.”

The event will recognize work from 151 eligible productions presented in the 2023 calendar year, with nominations made in 41 categories. Productions under consideration in 2023 included 44 musicals, 107 plays, and 36 world premieres. 

Jan Du Plain, of Du Plain Global Enterprises and member of the Theatre Washington Board of Directors, is serving as Chair. The 2024 Helen Hayes Awards are also supported by Events DC, Destination DC, Giant Foods, and TodayTix.

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The 2024 Helen Hayes Tribute will honor Peter Marks, former Theater Critic at the Washington Post. Marks stepped down in late 2023 after serving in this role for 21 years. This award recognizes Marks’ decades of knowledgeable and thoughtful writing about the DC-area, national, and international theatre landscape. He offered nuanced theatre criticism and reporting and he contributed immensely to the recognition of the artistic vibrancy of our region. 

Named for actor Helen Hayes – a Washington native and legendary First Lady of the American Theatre – the Helen Hayes Awards has honored excellence in professional theatre throughout the Washington region, now celebrating forty years. Nominations are grouped in “Helen” or “Hayes” cohorts, depending on the number of Equity members involved in the production. 

About Theatre Washington
Through collaborative partnerships and programs, Theatre Washington supports the Washington, DC-area’s professional theatre community to celebrate artistic achievement, strengthen the theatrical workforce, support institutional growth and advancement, and cultivate collective action. Theatre Washington’s core programs include: the Helen Hayes Awards, Theatre Week, Theatre Work, and the Taking Care Fund.

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Here are the latest numbers for BTR’s nonstop flight to DC

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Here are the latest numbers for BTR’s nonstop flight to DC


(Collin Richie)

Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport’s nonstop service to Washington’s Reagan International Airport is operating at an average 65% capacity as it nears its one-year anniversary, according to BTR Director of Aviation Mike Edwards.

The service, which was launched by American Airlines in June, was operating at roughly 45% capacity in August, as reported in Daily Report, well below the 68% recorded in July and the 74% during the first month.

Edwards says the flights have recently been closer to 75% full. 

“We’re pleased with the increase,” Edwards says. “We’re going to continue aggressively marketing the flight. We need the community’s support to make sure we can maintain that service. American Airlines has made a large investment in our community by launching this service and we want to make sure it succeeds long term.”

Edwards says the airport’s goal is for the flight’s load factor to reach 80% or higher to maintain the flight.

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“Looking at other regional markets with service to D.C., the average load factor is about 84%,” Edwards says. “We’re confident that once we get to 80%, the service will be viable in the long term.”

Overall, the airport saw more than 67,000 passengers in March, a 7% increase compared to March 2023. American Airlines saw nearly 10,000 more passengers from January through March than in the same quarter of 2023. The overall passenger volume through the first three months of this year increased by 8.4%.





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Smithsonian Institute celebrates Earth Day in the community

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Smithsonian Institute celebrates Earth Day in the community


WASHINGTON (Gray DC) – The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. went out into the community Saturday to celebrate the upcoming Earth Day holiday.

The Anacostia Community Museum and Smithsonian Institute’s second annual earth day celebration worked to engage the surrounding community with the earth.

Museum acting director Shanita Brackett said Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to highlight how communities can help the earth.

“It’s an opportunity for people to reflect back and in this particular neighborhood really thinking about how historic this place is to the Washington DC environment,” Brackett said. “Here on site today we’re handing out seeds, [there’s a stand for] Freshfarm where you can pick up produce, learning about recipes that you can actually create from what you might grow in your own backyard or from a farm nearby.”

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Anacostia is a community that faces a disproportionately high level of food insecurity. Freshfarm stand manager Price Holman said Freshfarm is one organization working to fix that.

“East of the [Potomac] River we have not as many grocery stores in some of these wards around here, so its really important that fresh food gets here and that our community has options,” Holman said.

Freshfarm values sustainability, making Earth Day a good opportunity for the organization to focus on the future.

“It really just takes us back to what are we going to need in the future, how are we going to continue to make sure what we’re putting in our bodies is nutritious, what we’re breathing in is still safe,” Holman said.

One highlight of the Earth Day celebration was a 3-D chalk mural of flowers and ducks from the artist group Chalk Riot.

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The mural’s designer said she wanted to highlight the nature of the surrounding Anacostia area.

“Earth Day is important because the residents love the nature and the community, and they always interact with it, and it brings them joy and peace,” Ann Gill said. “It just brings a recognition to people to take care of the earth that they live in.”

Earth Day started in 1970 and is celebrated every year on April 22.



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