Despite a lingering chill in early spring for much of the Midwest and Northeast, warmer weather is on the way. As the official spring season begins, Americans nationwide carry their annual traditions into the new year and attend outdoor events celebrating the spring thaw.
1. Spring Cleaning
As winter's icy grip slowly weakens, many Americans follow the annual tradition of cleaning their homes from top to bottom to shake away the winter blues with an influx of clean, spring air.
Throughout the country, many major cities, municipalities and townships opt for an annual springtime trash collection service that allows homeowners to get rid of any larger items or types of items that cannot be disposed of during the year with regular refuse. This often includes appliances, furniture and hazardous disposables, such as batteries, computer monitors and televisions.
The city of Boise, for example, has special collection services before the holiday season and again in the spring. Other traditional spring cleaning services consist of volunteer contributions to maintain the community, which will take place across the city in Philadelphia.
2. Yard Sales
In the spirit of springtime traditions, the classic "out with the old, in with the new" philosophy takes shape through the return of the traditional American yard sale. In most cases, but not all, no special licenses, permits or sales tax is needed as consumers exchange cash for items of their choosing.
Often held as community events in specific neighborhoods or municipalities, residents often hold their yard sales on the same set date to attract more customers. These traditional events put money into hands of members of the community while yard sale customers return to their homes with new, used or rare items not all of which are available in stores.
3. Trout Fishing
For many anglers across the United States, primarily ones living in the Midwest and Northeast, the return of annual trout harvesting marks the official beginning of winter's thaw. While many states have varying regulations, and even open seasons that last annually, states including New York, Pennsylvania and Georgia begin their open harvest period in March and April.
In Colorado, the spring season offers a variety of opportunities for anglers because of a rich feeding period preceding trout spawning. Montana offers annual open seasons for anglers for a variety of species but will restrict Bull Trout harvesting to specific locations and times of year.
4. Cherry Blossom Festivals
In 1912, Japan gifted more than 3,000 Yoshino cherry trees to celebrate the relationship between the U.S. and Japan. In 1927, the first National Cherry Blossom Festival was held in the United States, marking the annual springtime tradition as the pink blossoms begin to bloom in the nation's capital.
Macon, Ga., also holds their own annual celebration of the Yoshino cherry tree. The Macon International Cherry Blossom Festival is a 10-day event that includes concerts, exhibits, arts, crafts and entertainment surrounded by the city's 300,000 Yoshino cherry trees. In 1952, local realtor William A. Fickling Sr., returned from a trip in Washington, D.C., where he witnessed the same species of cherry tree in his backyard. As the years went by, the city's cherry tree population grew as a result of Flickling's interest in the rare tree, according to the festival's website. The first cherry blossom festival in Macon was held in 1982.
5. Rochester Lilac Festival
More than 500,000 attendees visit the Highland Park grounds in Rochester, N.Y., each May making the 10-day Rochester Lilac Festival one of the most popular springtime traditions in the country. Highland Park was donated in 1887 by Rochester residents and horticulturists George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry, the owners of Mt. Hope Nursery, according to the festival's website.
The two men donated 20 acres of land to the community and hired landscape engineer Frederick Law Olmsted to help develop the park. The park has grown to 150 acres and houses the largest lilac collection in the U.S. With approximately 100 years of history, the festival has grown into a nationwide event. Entertainment activities, concerts, exhibits and food choices are available to event attendees.
6. Clark County Fair & Rodeo
Logandale, Nev., is the site of one of the largest and most popular county fairs in the country. The Clark County Fair began in 1965 as the Moapa Valley Fair, which was held at various locations. Since then, it has grown as a springtime tradition which draws in more than 80,000 patrons each year. The fair offers a variety of entertainment venues and vendor exhibits including concerts, art exhibits, contests, animals, a livestock show and traditional rodeo performances.
"In 1981 the fair committee decided to pursue a more permanent location for the fair," according to the organization's website. "This committee, under the direction of Grant M. Bowler, was able to obtain 190 acres of ground in Logandale from the (U.S. Bureau of Land Management). With a grant from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the State Legislature, construction began. Many others also contributed their resources to aide in the development of the new fairgrounds. In 1986 the Moapa Valley Fair officially changed its name to the ‘Clark County Fair'."
Due to the fair's rising popularity, the name was changed in 1997 to the Clark County Fair & Rodeo. The family-oriented event is made possible each year by four part-time staff members and more than 500 volunteers.
7. Spring Fitness
As warm weather makes its return, many Americans return to their outdoor exercise regimens including preparation for annual races and marathons. The 38th Annual Spring Thaw was held in late February and has become a springtime tradition for residents of Pittsburgh and visitors looking to return to their outdoor activities.
In 2013, 932 people made it to the finish line despite the cold weather. In addition to hosting year-long events across the world, the Rock ‘n' Roll Marathon Series also schedules many events in early spring as athletes make their way back outdoors in preparation.
8. Spring Planting and Gardening
Preparing a garden site in the fall may be advantageous to those looking to engage in spring planting, but many gardeners prepare their soil in early spring as the warm air returns. As the ground begins to thaw, spring planting has become a tradition for many green-thumbed Americans.
Preparing the soil is an important aspect in ensuring a healthy and successful garden. In Pennsylvania, soybeans can be planted in early spring because colder air is beneficial for the plants, according to a Penn State University article.
Snap peas should be planted after the danger of spring frosts have passed, the article states, adding cabbages, cauliflower and broccoli should be planted in the late spring to ensure healthy cultivation. In central Pennsylvania, tomatoes should also not be planted until late spring and early summer to avoid the danger of spring frosts, according to the article.
9. Egg Decorating
A longstanding tradition often associated with Easter in springtime surrounds dyeing eggs each year for many Americans. As part of that tradition, the President and First Family have continued the Easter Egg Roll at the White House for more than 135 years. In 2014, the tradition will continue.
"This year's theme is ‘Hop into Healthy, Swing into Shape,' and more than 30,000 people will assemble on the South Lawn to join in the fun," according to the official White House website. "The event will feature live music, sports courts, cooking stations, storytelling and, of course, Easter egg rolling."
Each year since 1981, a commemorative egg is available since Ronald Reagan hosted an egg hunt featuring wooden eggs with signatures of famous actors, actresses, athletes and politicians, according to the website.
10. Memorial Day
Memorial Day is the sign for many Americans that springtime is ending and that summer is close at hand. The U.S. holiday originated after the Civil War as a way to commemorate the fallen soldiers from the Union and Confederacy. The last Monday in May, which was declared an official federal holiday in 1971, now celebrates the lives of U.S. armed forces members who sacrificed in defense of the nation.
American traditions surrounding Memorial Day include attending parades, participating in memorial ceremonies, placing flowers on the graves of the dead, spending time with loved ones and engaging in outdoor springtime activities. It is the unofficial start of summer, often observed with the opening of public swimming pools and family cookouts.