DC celebrates spring and cherry blossoms in annual festival

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- People took to the streets of the nation's capital Saturday to celebrate spring and cherry blossoms at the annual Cherry Blossom Festival Parade.

The festival, held every April, thrills tourists and Washington, D.C., residents alike with colorful floats, marching bands, beauty queens, celebrity performers, giant balloons and more. The festivities, which span four weeks, began on March 15, and will continue through April 16.

More than 1.5 million travel to DC to see the cherry blossoms, according to festival organizers.

The celebrations honor the friendship between the United States and Japan. In 1912, Yukio Ozaki, the mayor of Tokyo, gave 3,000 cherry blossom trees to the district of Columbia as a gift.

The cherry blossoms were in "peak bloom" from April 3-6, according to the National Cherry Blossom Festival Organization, and will be changing from light pink to green in the next few days.

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