Cherry Blossom Festival Highlights:

March 27: The 38th Annual Smithsonian Kite Festival, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., National Mall near the Washington Monument. Besides the kite-flying competition, there are demonstrations by kite-flying masters, and an exhibition on kite history. (Rain date: Sunday, March 28)

March 27: Opening ceremony, 5:30 p.m., Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Japanese and American entertainment. The event is free but tickets must be obtained in advance by calling 202-661-7590.

March 27-April 11: Tidal Basin Cultural Stage, noon-4 p.m., steps of the Jefferson Memorial. Music, dance and martial arts demonstrations.

March 30-April 1: Free concerts, 4-6 p.m., Union Station. Cultural performances and demonstrations.

April 3: National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, 10 a.m., Constitution Avenue between 7 and 17 streets, NW.

April 3: Japanese Cherry Blossom Street Festival, noon-6 p.m., 12th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. Japanese market, food, performances.

April 10: Fireworks at 8 p.m., Southwest Waterfront. Best viewed from East Potomac Park or the Southwest Waterfront.

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For more information: National Cherry Blossom Festival,

Washington, D.C., Convention and Tourism Corp.: Contact 202-789-7000 or visit

National Arboretum: 3501 New York Ave., NE. Contact 202-245-2726 or visit Open daily, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

U.S. Botanic Garden: 100 Maryland Ave., SW. Open daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Contact 202-225-8333 or

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