Fairfax County, VA - March, 2013 - 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
There's no better time to experience nature's beauty than during the National Cherry Blossom Festival®. Between March 20th and April 14th, Festival visitors are invited to plan a self-guided tour of the area's 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. Also be sure to visit the singular Korean Bell Garden while you're there. There is a nominal entrance fee.

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 tropicals. 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 2-April 7 - "Ephemeral: Interpretations of the Cherry Blossom" Exhibit at the Workhouse Arts Center
Curated by Laurel Lukaszewki and Komelia Hongja Okim, this month-long exhibition on the ephemeral nature of the Cherry Blossom will explore fleeting moments captured in art while celebrating the bloom, as well as Asian and American relations. Artists in this exhibition include: glass artists Michael Janis and Robert Kincheloe, photographer David Douglas, painters Sumita Kim and Jun Chul Kim, and sculptures Akemi Maegawa, Dalya Luttwak and David Loren Gerlach. W-16 - McGuireWoods Gallery. Public opening reception scheduled for Saturday, March 9th from 6 pm - 9 pm. No tickets required. www.lortonarts.org

March 23 - Japanese Garden Design Seminar at Green Spring Gardens
Japanese garden design is an art form thousands of years in the making. Stone, gravel, water, paths and plants all hold significance in the design. Whether you are looking to make your own Japanese style garden or simply want to learn to appreciate the elemental meanings, horticulturalist Sandy Flowers will teach you the essentials in creating a Japanese style garden. 9:30 am - 10:30 am. Fee is $20 per person. Register online at www.greenspring.org (code: 290 285 7201) or call 703-642-5173.

April 6 - Ikebana Flower Arranging Workshop at Green Spring Gardens
Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, is a disciplined practice inspired by nature. Learn the rich symbolism and fundamentals of this art and take home an arrangement of your own. Floral material and containers provided. 9:30 am - 11 am. Fee is $35 per person (Ages 15+). Please register by March 28th by calling 703-642-5173 (code: 290 286 5801).

April 6 - Asian Art and Culture Day at the Workhouse Arts Center
Enjoy a full day of workshops, demonstrations, performances, talks and exhibitions featuring Asian art and culture from 11 am to 4 pm. The day will feature Japanese tea tastings, origami workshops and film, brush painting demonstrations, artist talks, cherry tree planting, and other cultural activities for all ages. Presenters include Japan America Society of Washington DC, George Mason University, Workhouse Ceramic Artists and Ikebana International. Highlights include guest lecturer Dr. Svitlana Shiells on the Japanese influences of Gustav Klimt's work and the Japanese aesthetic in contemporary art; a special Ikebana exhibit by Workhouse ceramic artists; a presentation of The Magic Fan by students from George Mason University's Japanese studies program; and an Anesama doll-making workshop with Anne Cox. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/ZncDY2.

April 6 & 13 - Umami Means "Delicious" Tasting Party at Green Spring Gardens
Sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami...the fifth taste is fundamental to Japanese cuisine. Celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival® by exploring the savory taste of umami, its history, health benefits, and the taste research science behind it at our Saturday tasting parties. Sample umami-rich foods and learn how to use its attributes to enhance your cooking. From 10 am - 12 pm; Fee is $27 per person. Register online at www.greenspring.org (code: for 4/6 event - 290 285 7901; for 4/13 event - 290 285 7902) or call 703-642-5173.

March 20-April 14 - Petal Pass Discounts at Tysons Corner Center
Show your Petal Pass card at Guest Services (Level 1, near Macy's) anytime during the Festival and receive a free discount book to take advantage of some great discounts. The Petal Pass program is a part of the City in Bloom campaign, presented by Capital One Bank. Petal Passes will be available at area Capital One Bank branches across the region, and serve as an interactive guide to the many area attractions providing special offers.

Fairfax County's Festival Center
The official Fairfax County Capital Region Visitor Center in Tysons Corner Center (on 2nd level outside Nordstrom) is "Festival Central" in Fairfax County, and also a Petal Pass location. 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 March 30th from 12 pm - 3 pm with craft demonstrations and more!

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) and Pinterest (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 2013 Festival, March 20 - April 14, 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. www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org

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