WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- The 2004 National Cherry Blossom Festival (NCBF) celebration runs from March 27-April 11. With must see events such as the daily Cultural Performances at the Jefferson Memorial, the 38th Annual Smithsonian Kite Festival, the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade (r), the Sakura Matsuri Festival and the Gala Dinner Cruise Aboard the Odyssey, this year's festival brings a full schedule of excitement and entertainment for the entire family. The two-week festival combines both traditional NCBF events as well as brand new events for 2004.

The 2004 National Cherry Blossom Festival(r) celebrates its 92nd Anniversary of the gift of cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the citizens of the United States and Japan. NCBF remains a significant symbol of the lasting gift and the events commemorate the friendship and alliance between Japan and the United States.

On March 27 at 5:30pm, the Opening Ceremony will officially begin the 2004 NCBF season. This event will be held at Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C., and is free and open to the public. Tickets must be secured by calling (202) 661-7590, as space is limited. The Mandarin will also host an exhibit of rare Japanese textiles -- "150 Years of Traditional Japanese Kimono" - -at the hotel Gallery throughout the festival open from 10am-5pm daily.

Daily Cultural Performances at the Jefferson Memorial, sponsored by Target Stores, have become a focal point of NCBF and are back again this year. More than 60 performers and performance groups will entertain audiences at the Tidal Basin. From noon - 2pm, enjoy free performances featuring music, dance, song and martial arts demonstrations in addition to hands-on arts and crafts activities.

Southwest Airlines presents the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade(r), an annual favorite, on Saturday April 3. One of the largest annual spectator events in Washington, D.C., the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade(r) runs along Constitution Avenue between 7th & 17th Streets, N.W. and showcases entries from across the country and around the world, including lavish floats, gigantic helium balloons, exciting International performing groups and some of the nation's finest marching bands. Immediately following the parade, the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival presents cultural performances, arts and crafts and a taste of Japan from 11am-6pm on Pennsylvania Ave. & 12th Streets, N.W.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival(r) has become a tradition for many Washingtonians and an event that we share with the entire nation and our visitors year after year. Festival organizers are anticipating nearly 1 million people to celebrate this year's National Cherry Blossom Festival(r). Take Metro to NCBF events, as most are Metro accessible.

To see a full schedule of events, and to learn more about the festival, visit www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org or call 202/547-1500. All events are subject to schedule changes without notice.

The logo for the National Cherry Blossom Festival is available at: http://media.primezone.com/prs/single/?pkgid=811

Linda Roth Associates, LLC 
Piper Anderson
(703) 522-0703

Diana Mayhew
Executive Director
(202) 661-7596