By Tanner Howard

WASHINGTON – Spring may begin Friday, but you wouldn’t know that if you looked at the cherry blossoms that line the capital’s Tidal Basin.

An unusually cold February has delayed the peak bloom days of the cherry blossoms. Typically, the blossoms reach their peak in the first few days of April. This year, the National Park service has predicted their peak to come between April 11 and 14.

Despite the delay, the start of spring and the beginning of the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival are both Friday. Celebrating its 80th anniversary, the festival will run through April 12, around the time forecasters expect to see the plants in full bloom.

While the festival began in 1935, the cherry blossoms have been an important part of D.C.’s history for more than a century. In 2012, the National Park Service celebrated the 100th anniversary of cherry blossoms being planted throughout Washington.

Serving as a deep tie between Japan and the U.S., the cherry blossoms have captivated tourists and area residents alike for generations. While this year’s winter may have slowed their arrival, the cherry blossoms promise to delight a new group of visitors in the coming weeks.