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Fireworks for Cherry Blossom Festival, low temperatures threaten blooms

Petalpalooza, formerly known as the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival, may be the last time to see the cherry blossoms at their peak, due to weather forecasts.

WASHINGTON — The National Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C. continued Saturday with the Petalpalooza event, despite forecasts threatening the recently peaked blooms.

Formerly known as the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival, Petalpalooza featured interactive art installations, games and activities, live music, a fireworks show and more.

The free event offered activities for all ages, including a roller skating rink, a gigantic floral color-by-number, calligraphy artists, bike-powered art, a Petalpalooza Main Stage, and a 202 Stage featuring DC-based performers.

The event was held at The Wharf from 1 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Peak bloom arrived Thursday, but the cold forecasts do not bode well for the blossoms.

“Twenty-seven degrees is the threshold where you’ll start to see damage to the blossoms and some of them being killed off,” said Mike Litterst, spokesman for the National Park Service.

With the low temperatures Saturday night into Sunday morning dipping into the upper 20s around the region, it’ll be something to keep an eye on, he said. If so, then Saturday could well be the last time to see the cherry blossoms at their peak.

Under ideal conditions, the trees can hold their blossoms for up to two weeks, according to the National Park Service.

Despite the unseasonably cold temperatures, large crowds are still expected on the National Mall and along the Tidal Basin across the weekend. There are several options for getting around. 

WTOP’s John Domen contributed to this report.


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