River Festival Sunday honors ‘Year of the Anacostia’ and Cherry Blossoms

WASHINGTON — The Anacostia River Festival on Sunday marks the official closing of the 2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival and celebrates the “Year of the Anacostia.”

At the river festival, people of all ages can practice paddling a canoe or take a boat ride. There will be fishing, fishing workshops and biking events.

“There’s going to be how to fix a bike and where to can go with your bike,” said Lisa Ragain, water resources planner for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

There’s stuff just for fun, such as art displays, performances and live music; but Ragain said festival activities are geared toward helping people realize how many different things there are to do on the river.

“So you can be able to understand how much you can do in the watershed, and how important it is you interact with it, and why it’s so amazing this region has that resource right there in your back yard and neighborhood,” Ragain said.

Come to the river campaign

“I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the Anacostia is the funnest river in this region,” Adam Ortiz, chair of the Anacostia Restoration Partnership said. “There’s so much to do on the river.”

You can hike, bike, picnic, play golf or basketball, go to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, the Arboretum and The Wharf, he said.

The Anacostia River and its related activities are easily accessible from nearby Metro Stations. They include R.F.K, Armory, Cheverly, West Hyattsville, most of the Green Line and a lot of the Orange Line are accessible, Ortiz said.

“Grab your bike, you get on the Metro on the weekend and you get off at Stadium Armory, you come out and behind R.F.K. there’s a trail there. You can take the trail up-river and you can go to the Arboretum, you can cross over and you can go to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and you can go all the way up to Greenbelt and hang out at Lake Artemesia.”

This year, Anacostia Park turns 100 years old, the D.C. United soccer stadium will open along the banks of the Anacostia and Nationals Park, also on the river, will host Major League Baseball’s All-Star game.

All that and more, Ortiz said, makes the Anacostia worth celebrating.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival tree planting program has planted 50 cherry trees in the Anacostia area over the years. Many still are in bloom now.

“The Anacostia River Festival extends the National Cherry Blossom Festival beyond the blossoms at the Tidal Basin and into our city’s incredible neighborhoods,” Diana Mayhew, National Cherry Blossom Festival president said. “We’re excited to cap off four weeks of programming by celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Anacostia Park and the beauty of nature that can be found in our own backyards.”

Free Shuttles will run to the festival from the Eastern Market and Anacostia Metro stations. Free parking is available at the Anacostia Metro Station and at the Skating Pavilion in Anacostia Park at 1500 Anacostia Drive.

The festival runs from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Anacostia Park.

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