Cherry Blossom Parade rings in spring

The Cherry Blossom Parade marched down Constitution Avenue Saturday morning as tourists flocked to the city for the annual event. Originally designed to commemorate the anniversary of Tokyo’s gift of cherry trees to the city, the Cherry Blossom Parade has become an eclectic event with clowns and Redskins cheerleaders showcasing their talents.

Parade participants came from around the world. Sangre Boliviana, a Bolivian dance troupe, showed the crowd a Bolivian folk dance in colorful national costumes. Gigantic balloons with familiar characters like Garfield and clowns entertained the younger parade attendees.

The Petal High School Band from Petal, Mo., showed off their school spirit by wearing their colors and playing patriotic songs.

Elizabeth Edgecomb, a high school student from Maine, was selected as one of the Cherry Blossom Princesses. One princess was chosen from each state through an interview process and each carried a flag in the parade to represent her state.

During this weeklong trip to D.C., the women met the first lady, toured the Pentagon and saw other attractions in the city. Edgecomb said being able to march in the parade was a “really impressive experience.”

“The crowd was very fun and responsive,” she said. “It was also great to be escorted by some of the U.S. Navy.”

Despite a brief rain shower in the middle of the parade, on-lookers had positive things to say about this event.

“It’s so beautiful, and the crowd was very receptive,” said Cort Mendez, who came to spend a day in the area.

Freshman Jared Kiraly enjoyed the diversity of the event.

“I just kind of wandered down here, and I didn’t even know there was a parade. But the Bolivian dancers were pretty cool,” Kiraly said.

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