Washington, though steeped in history and surrounded by breathtaking monuments, is still considered by many to be a town synonymous with corruption and dirty politics. But, every spring something beautiful happens here: The Cherry Blossom Festival. Below are 8 pretty cool facts that you may or may not know about this bucolic festival.

1.) In 1912 the emperor of Japan gifted the United States with 3,000 cherry trees.

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2.) Every year the National Cherry Blossom Festival welcomes springtime to Washington D.C. and reaffirms the friendship between the U.S. and Japan. This year is the 98th anniversary of the original ceremony.

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3.) Sakura means “flowering cherry tree” in Japanese.

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4.) Travel writer and photographer Mrs. Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore thought to plant the trees along the Potomac when she first visited Japan in 1885. First Lady Helen Herron Taft liked the idea and helped put the plan together.

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5.) There are 3,700 Cherry Trees in Washington D.C., they include the Yoshino Cherry tree, Kwanzan Cherry, the Autumn Flowering Cherry and many others.

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6.) The Tree Crew for National Capital Parks-Central care for the trees. Their duties include: pruning, watering, fertilizing and treating wounds and disease.

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7.) Japan gave First Lady Lady Bird Johnson 3,800 more cherry trees to plant in 1965.

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8.) The National Park Service has predicted that peak bloom time will be from March 26 – March 30.

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Festival Dates: March 20th through April 17th, 2016 

More Info: http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.orgSource: http://www.crapo.senate.gov/idaho/fast_facts/cherry_blossom.cfmFeatured photo: http://washington.org/sites/washington.org/master/files/styles/homepage_slideshow_1800x700/public/carousel/cherry_blossom_booking_homepage_only.jpg