Fairfax County, VA - March, 2014 - Throughout this year's National Cherry Blossom Festival®, Visit Fairfax and its partners are celebrating the splendor and majesty of our parks and gardens, as well as Japanese culture, with exhibits and self-guided garden tours that showcase the natural beauty of Fairfax County in bloom (www.fxva.com/cherryblossom).

Glorious Gardens Tour
Each year, visitors flock to the capital city to enjoy the National Cherry Blossom Festival®, but many may not be aware of the beautiful gardens that sit just across the Potomac in Northern Virginia. Visitors who would like to explore beyond the basin are invited to plan a self-guided tour of some of the area's most splendid gardens. In addition to the District's iconic Tidal Basin and the U.S. National Arboretum, plan stops at the following not-to-miss sites:

River Farm www.ahs.org/river_farm (703-768-5700)
A historic 25-acre site on the banks of the Potomac River, River Farm was once part of George Washington's original five farms, and currently the headquarters of the American Horticultural Society. The grounds offer spectacular river views, a wildlife garden and delightful children's areas.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens www.nvrpa.org/parks/meadowlark (703-255-3631)
More than 100 cherry trees surrounding a lovely lake, an extensive shade garden, native wildflowers, gazebos, birds, butterflies, seasonal blooms and foliage make up Meadowlark Gardens. Also be sure to visit the only Korean Bell Garden open to the public in the western hemisphere during your visit.

Green Spring Gardens www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/gsgp (703-642-5173)
There's something here for everyone: a wooded stream, valley with ponds, a native plant garden, over 20 thematic demonstration gardens, and a greenhouse filled with tropical plants. It's an outdoor classroom, a museum and a national historic site.

During the Festival, visitors are encouraged to check in at the main desk at each garden to receive a special complimentary memento. Log onto the individual websites or call for hours and directions.

Cultural Events
March 30 & March 31 - A Touch Of Japan at Cherry Blossom Time at Sully Historic Site
Tea sample, fans & fun! Through this program that builds community spirit and showcases the nation's greatest springtime celebration in the Washington, DC area, visitors will enjoy a small exhibit of Japanese fans and small objects such as netsuke, sample a few teas and make a painted fan. Tours of the historic 1794 house are included. Visitors will gain an appreciation of Japan, and see the influences of Japan in our everyday lives. In the historic setting of Sully, and with the educational interpretation and tours, the program is of high quality and educational value. Ages 5-Adult). Event runs from 3pm - 4pm. Prepaid reservations by March 21 for this unique program. Fee is $15 per person. Register online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/sully-historic-site (code: 381 201 6301 for the 30th and code: 381 201 6302 for the 31st).

April 5 - Children's Cherry Blossom Celebration at Green Spring Gardens
Celebrate spring and the gift of cherry trees at Green Spring Gardens. Learn about the cherry tree history and the fascination that brings so many visitors to Washington every year. This open house format includes origami, crafts, and cherry tree 'hunt'. No reservations required. 1pm - 3pm. Fee is $10 per person. Register online at www.greenspring.org (code: 290 289 9201) or call 703-642-5173.

April 6 - Japanism in Fashion at Green Spring Gardens

Cherry blossoms bring to mind another gift from Japan: the influence of Japanese aesthetics on Western fashion. View gorgeous avant-garde designs that combined Japanese motifs with 19th-and 20th-century Western silhouettes. Discover elements of the kimono in tea gowns and opera coats and hear about Japanese designers who are redefining fashion worldwide today. 1pm - 3pm. Fee is $29 per person. Reservations required. Register online at www.greenspring.org or call 703-642-5173.

April 12 - Tasting Party: Umami Means 'Delicious' at Green Spring Gardens
Sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. Celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival® with the fifth taste that's fundamental to Japanese cuisine. Explore the savory taste of umami, its history, health benefits, and the taste research science behind it. Sample umami-rich foods and learn how to use its attributes to enhance your cooking. 10am - 12pm. Fee is $30 per person. Register online at www.greenspring.org (code: 290 285 7901) or call 703-642-5173.

March 20 to April 13 -Blossoming Paper at Tysons Corner Center, Macy's Court
Tysons Corner Center is proud to be a new addition to the National Cherry Blossom Festival in 2014. From March 20th through April 13th, Tysons Corner Center will feature an explosion of culture dedicated to traditional Japanese art forms and honoring the celebration of the beauty and culture that is the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Located in Macy's Court, Cherry Blossoms will come alive and surround the spectacular works of art by Voyo Woo in her paper cutting exhibit entitled ‘Blossoming Paper'. Tysons Corner Center will be in bloom as we create new traditions in tandem with a century-old, cultural staple in the Washington, D.C. area.

March 20 to April 13 - Fairfax County's Festival Center at the Fairfax County Capital Region Visitor Center
The official Fairfax County Capital Region Visitor Center in Tysons Corner Center (on 2nd level outside Nordstrom) is "Festival Central" in Fairfax County. The public is invited to stop in for free gifts, Festival schedules and information on activities throughout the region. The visitor center will also host a special event on April 5th from 12pm - 2pm with craft demonstrations and more! The Visitor Center is also participating again this year in the Petal Pass Program. The limited edition keepsake Petal Pass is your ticket for exclusive deals throughout the Festival, and a great way to explore the region during the nation's greatest springtime celebration! Passes are available for free at neighborhood Capital One Bank® branches throughout the region beginning March 17, 2014. Show the pass at the Center and receive a lovely free gift!

Visit Fairfax is the official tourism organization for Fairfax County, Virginia. Charged with destination marketing and tourism promotion, it is directed by many of the County's top tourism and hospitality leaders. For more information on deals, events and more, download the free Visit Fairfax app at www.fxva.com/mobile. Be sure to follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/visitfairfaxva), Twitter (@VisitFairfax), Instagram (@VisitFairfax), and Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/visitfairfax) for all Fairfax County events and activities this Spring!

The National Cherry Blossom Festival® is the nation's greatest springtime celebration. The 2014 Festival, March 20 - April 13, includes three spectacular weeks and four weekends of events featuring diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit. The 2014 Festival commemorates the 102nd anniversary of the gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the United States and Japan. 877.44.BLOOM // nationalcherryblossomfestival.org // @CherryBlossFest // facebook.com/CherryBlossomFestival

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Ali Morris
Visit Fairfax
Ph: 703.752.9505