From the "better late than never file": Last Saturday was the inaugural Big Cherry Block Party in Downtown Silver Spring. It's the first event in Maryland officially approved by the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which of course commemorates Japan's 1912 gift of cherry blossom trees to the United States and is held where the trees were planted around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.
Until Saturday morning, however, there weren't any cherry blossom trees in Downtown Silver Spring. ("It's so unusual for them to promote this here," a bewildered Japanese woman told me in the elevator of the parking garage.) JUTP sleeps in on Saturday mornings, meaning I didn't get to see County Executive Ike Leggett dedicate the tree with Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki. I did, however, stop by shortly after to take a few photos of the street vendors, some girls singing karaoke, a martial arts performance, and some delicious-smelling kabobs. Check them out in the slideshow below or by clicking here.