As the nation's capital braced for snow, a sure sign that spring is just around the corner emerged on Wednesday.
Officials announced that the 2005 National Cherry Blossom Festival (search) will run March 26 through April 10. Festival director Diana Mayhew said the peak blooming period will be revealed March 3 by a National Park Service (search) horticulturist. The annual parade will take place April 9.
The trees are mostly descendants of those presented to the United States by Japan in 1912 to mark 60 years of friendly relations. About 150 remain from the original stock.
Each year, thousands of tourists descend on the Tidal Basin (search) to bask in the glow of the trees. Mayhew said after 93 years, interest in the famed cherry trees continues to grow.
Although Mayhew said no formal connection has been made with the Washington Nationals, she was sure that the return of baseball and the cherry blossoms will once again become an annual springtime tradition in D.C.