Washingtonian’s well-heeled philanthropists gathered Friday night at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center to celebrate one of the city’s most iconic signs of spring, the cherry blossoms. The National Cherry Blossom Festival‘s (NCBF) Pink Tie Party, a standout event every year in a city full of galas and fundraisers, was hosted by All Nippon Airways (ANA).
The NCBF is an annual event that commemorates the gift of 3000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo in 1912. Symbolizing lasting friendship between the States and Japan, the springtime blooms are a major tourist attraction in DC. The fundraising event, which features a silent auction full of luxury items and experiences, benefits the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Inc., a 501(c)(3), to ensure events and programming surrounding the NCBF are predominantly free and open to the public.
Dressed in “pink tie,” guests enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres, signature cocktails, a full open bar, and dozens of tasting stations from the city’s best restaurants, like iCi Urban Bistro, Carmine’s, and STK. Crossing a bridge built by LandDesign, guests could enjoy an indoor interpretation of a “hanami,” or cherry blossom viewing, while sipping Mizu shochu cocktails from MJS Sake Selections. Guests could also simulate a first-class flight experience on ANA, with rows of airplane seats serviced by flight attendants showed of the Japanese airline’s upscale accommodations.
Entertainment kept in theme of celebrating Japanese culture, as a taiko drum ensemble wowed guests with enchanting rhythms. DJ Seyhan eventually took the stage, and guests danced the night away. Despite a cold snap over the weekend, the cherry blossoms still bloomed today, ushering in what locals consider the “real” first day of spring.
For a full schedule of cherry blossom festivities, see the NCBF calendar.