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Peak bloom of Washington cherry trees expected March 26-30

The cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin are in full bloom in Washington, March 19, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing
The cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin are in full bloom in Washington, March 19, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Washington, D.C.'s, renowned cherry trees, a gift from Japan 101 years ago, are expected to hit their peak bloom at the end of this month, coinciding with the early days of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, a festival spokeswoman said on Monday.

The peak bloom is expected to occur from March 26-30, according to a prediction by the National Park Service, festival spokeswoman Danielle Piacente said. The Cherry Blossom Festival, one of the biggest U.S. springtime parties, will run from March 20 to April 14.

A more exact bloom date forecast will come next week.

The Cherry Blossom Festival is expected to draw about 1.2 million visitors this year to enjoy white and pink blooms on about 3,800 trees around the capital's Tidal Basin, Piacente said.

The park service said about 70 percent of the blossoms will likely be open by April 4. The bloom normally lasts about 17 days.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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